Ovitt Outlook
In This Issue...
February 2008
Carbon Monoxide Danger

Click the following link to view Supervisor Ovitt's Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaYuulTHBA0

The California Fire Marshal's Office reminds families of the danger of carbon monoxide (CO) – a poisonous gas that may build up in homes during the winter.

As part of Carbon Monoxide Awareness, the marshal's office offers these safety tips:

  • Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. Check batteries.
  • Replace CO alarms every seven years to benefit from technology upgrades.
  • Never leave your car running in an attached garage or carport.
  • Never use an oven or stove to heat your home.
  • Never use charcoal or gas grills inside or outside near a window.
  • Keep chimneys clear of nests, leaves and residue.
  • Do not block exhaust flues or ducts used by water heaters, ranges or clothes dryers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning caused by heating and cooking appliances every year.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that prevents the absorption of oxygen in the blood. Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning often resemble flu-like symptoms – headache, nausea, and fatigue. Higher levels of poisoning can result in vomiting, disorientation, seizures, unconsciousness, and death.

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels (natural gas, liquid petroleum, oil, kerosene, coal or wood). Furnaces, space heaters, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, water heaters, charcoal grills, fireplaces and wood burning stoves produce carbon monoxide. These appliances are safe to use when properly ventilated, but can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning when they are not.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department encourages residents to purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms should be tested according to manufacturer’s instructions. Carbon monoxide detectors do not replace the need for a smoke alarm.

What should you do if a carbon monoxide detector sounds in your home? If you are not experiencing symptoms, ventilate your home and have a qualified technician (i.e. The Gas Co.) inspect your home heating and cooking appliances. If you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get out of the house and call 9-1-1.

Stay Warm and Safe
Colder weather in the evenings and early mornings brings the need for home heating, and sometimes for a little extra help from a fireplace or a space heater. Unfortunately, accidents involving fireplaces and heating equipment are a major cause of preventable home fires. County Fire urges county residents to keep safe while they keep warm. Following are some safety tips to help you stay warm safely.

Fire Safety Tips for Fireplaces and Other Heating Devices:
  • Before the cold weather arrives, change furnace filters to keep equipment running efficiently and safely.
  • Place all space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, walls, curtains, or anything that burns. Make sure to turn them off when you leave home or go to bed. Contact the Gas Company or a heating contractor if you suspect that your heater is not functioning properly.
  • Check thermostats to make sure the furnace doesn’t turn itself on before you’re ready for it, and give yourself time to check furnace vents, especially floor vents, to make sure they’re not blocked. Furniture and drapes placed over heating vents can sometimes catch fire.
  • Never install unvented gas heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms, where the small room size poses an added danger of rapid carbon monoxide build-up. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional before each heating season and have it cleaned regularly.
  • Be sure to have a proper spark arrester on all chimney tops to prevent burning embers from blowing out of the top of the chimney and starting a fire on your roof or a neighbor’s. Screens should have openings of no more than a half-inch—a quarter-inch if you live next to a wilderness area. If you have a manufactured fireplace, check with the manufacturer for installation requirements before placing anything on top of the fireplace.
  • Never use a fireplace during high winds, especially if you have a wood shake roof.
  • Make sure tree branches are cleared at least 10 feet from the chimney opening.
  • Store paper, kindling, and other flammable material at least three feet from the fireplace.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container. Cardboard boxes, paper bags, and plastic containers quickly catch fire. Even apparently cool ashes may contain enough heat to ignite these containers.
  • Be sure that you have a fireplace screen in a place large enough to block flying embers and rolling logs from escaping onto your floor.
  • Never burn trash, paper, or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause a combustible build-up on the lining of your fireplace that may eventually catch fire, possibly damaging the chimney and threatening your home.
  • Make sure that any fireplace fires are completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Remember, never use a charcoal-burning barbecue or heater indoors! When burned indoors, charcoal produces deadly amounts of carbon monoxide gas that is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. Charcoal-burning devices are for outdoor use only!
Before lighting any fire:
  • Check to see that the flue is open.
  • Keep a screen in front of the fireplace at all times, especially when fire is burning.
  • Before closing the flue, be sure that the fire is completely out.
  • Check the phone directory for a professional fireplace contractor to assist you with any needs or questions you may have.
County Fire also reminds you to make sure your home is equipped with working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Don’t forget to install, test, and maintain these devices in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. An approved smoke detector with fresh batteries doubles your chances of surviving a fire in your home!

Provide two means of escape from every room and make sure everyone knows where to meet after leaving the house. Develop and practice a fire escape plan for your household. Remember; never return to a burning building for any reason. Your belongings can be replaced – you can’t!

Community Clean Up
I have partnered with San Bernardino County Code Enforcement and Solid Waste Management Divisions to host community clean ups throughout the 4th District in 2008. We will be providing trash and tire collection containers for the FREE removal of accumulated trash. I encourage you to bring your trash and tires to the designated containers at one of the locations listed below. This program is limited to the residents of the unincorporated County area. We cannot accept commercial or industrial waste from businesses. If you have oversized or hard to handle loads, you may be diverted directly to the landfill. Please remember to safely secure and properly cover your loads prior to traveling to the event. Tires must be removed from rims and the maximum size is 11”x25.5”.

If you have any questions, please contact my district office at (909) 465-1895.

02/09/2008- Lyle S. Briggs Fundamental School
05/03/2008- Howard Elementary School
07/12/2008- Doris Dickson Elementary School
08/16/2008- Howard Elementary School
10/18/2008- Lyle Briggs Fundamental School

Carbon Monoxide Danger

Stay Warm and Safe

Community Clean Ups

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Main Office:
385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415
(909) 387-4866

Chino District Office:
13160 7th Street
Chino, CA 91710 
(909) 465-1895

Staff Members:
Mark Kirk, Chief of Staff
Anthony Riley, District Director
Roman Nava, Senior Field Rep
Grace Hagman, Community Outreach Specialist/ Field Rep
Naseem Farooqi, Constituent Services Rep
Burt Southard, Special Projects Coordinator
Joy Chadwick, Executive Analyst
Christy Ray, Executive Secretary
Annette Taylor, Executive Secretary