By Tamar Sarkissian
It’s time to spring forward! Daylight saving time begins this Sunday, March 12. Aside from setting your watch and clocks one hour forward and enjoying more daylight, this is the perfect time to make your home and family safer. PG&E has some simple tips that can help.
Carbon monoxide safety
Carbon monoxide can be emitted from improperly functioning gas appliances, particularly those used for heating and cooking. To protect your family against potential exposure, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor, near sleeping areas and in common areas.
- These devices should be tested twice a year, and batteries replaced if necessary, which makes the start and end of daylight saving time such a perfect reminder.
- Check the date that the detector was manufactured. The sensors in most carbon monoxide detectors have a useful life of five to 10 years.
- Most detectors have an audible signal, usually a series of chirps, which differs from the alarm to indicate a low battery, a malfunction or device is nearing its end of life. Refer to the owner's manual or the instructions on the back of the detector for more information.
- Clear away any flammable materials and liquids from gas furnaces and other heat sources.
- PG&E offers free gas appliance safety checks and encourages customers to schedule an inspection by calling the customer helpline at 1-800-743-5000. Inspections help ensure that gas appliances, including water heaters, furnaces and ovens, are operating safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning within the home.
Remember, carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it is odorless and can’t be seen, and all California homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors. If you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, you should get out immediately and call 911.
The longer days can make you eager to go outdoors for a backyard project. Whether you’ve hired a contractor to do a major job, or you’re just repairing or building a fence, planting or removing a tree or installing a new mailbox, call 811 before any digging project – large or small! This simple, free phone call can prevent damaging an underground utility line while digging. Utility workers will respond at no cost to you and mark the location of any underground utility lines. Making that free call will help avoid injuries, property damage and costly repairs potentially in the thousands of dollars.
- Remember, underground utility lines can be buried just inches below the surface, so make a free call to 811 even for small digging projects so that you can dig safely and avoid expensive repair costs, averaging $3,500.
- Call 811or go online for a USA ticket three working days before digging: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. PG&E and other utilities will identify underground facilities in the area for free.
- To identify your project location, draw a box around the area using white paint, white stakes, white flags, white chalk or even white baking flour.
- Once underground utility lines have been marked, use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of underground utility lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until the project is finished. Backfill and compact the soil.
- If the utility line is visible, dig in parallel with the utility line and use all precautions when removing the soil from around the utility line.
- Be aware of signs of a natural gas leak: Smell for a “rotten egg” odor, listen for hissing, whistling or roaring sounds and look for dirt spraying into the air, bubbling in a pond or creek and dead/dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
- If customers suspect a gas leak, PG&E urges customers to call 911 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. If an accidental dent, scrape or other damage is made to a gas pipeline, those nearby must leave immediately and alert others to avoid the area. Only when a safe distance away should anything that might create a spark such as cell phones, matches, garage door openers, vehicles or yard equipment be used.
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