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The Heart Of It All

Campbellsville-Taylor County KY

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Citizen's Guide To Radon

 

Winter Electrical Service

Overview

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see radon. And you can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Radon can be found all over the U.S.

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breath. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building - homes, offices, and schools - and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.

You should test for radon.

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing in schools.

Testing is inexpensive and easy - it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon.

You can fix a radon problem.

Radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly.  Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%.  Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

New homes can be built with radon-resistant features.

Radon-resistant construction techniques can be effective in preventing radon entry. When installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. In addition, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier and less expensive to reduce radon levels. Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant. If radon levels are still present, having a qualified mitigator install a vent fan should activate the passive system.

How Does Radon Get Into Your Home?

Radon is a radioactive gas.  It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water. In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.

RADON GETS IN THROUGH:

  • Cracks in solid floors
  • Construction joints
  • Cracks in walls
  • Gaps in suspended floors
  • Gaps around service pipes
  • Cavities inside walls
  • The water supply
     

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for general information about radon in your area. While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test.

Radon can also be a problem in schools and workplaces.  Ask your state radon office about radon problems in schools, daycare and childcare facilities, and workplaces in your area.

 

 

If you lose electrical service during the winter, follow these tips:

  1. Call your utility company first to report the power outage and determine area repair schedules.  Turn off or unplug lights, appliances, and furnace to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored.  Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored.
     
  2. To help prevent freezing pipes, turn the water off to your home or turn on faucets slightly. Running water will not freeze as quickly.
     
  3. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:

    DO NOT operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.

    DO NOT use charcoal to cook indoors.  It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.

    DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home – prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.

    Make sure fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation

  4. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.  As a rule, as long as you do not open the doors, a freezer that is half-full should remain in tact for 24 hours, and freezer that is totally full 48 hours.  If the power is going to be off for substantial amount of time, take your food out of the refrigerator or freezer and place it in a cooler outside of your home.  As long as the temperature outside remains freezing or below, you should be able to maintain your food’s quality.
     

NEIGHBOR HELPING NEIGHBOR

If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment such as a ventilator, respirator or oxygen concentrator, you should make plans now to ensure their needs are met during severe winter weather and possible power outages.

  • Help them stock a home disaster kit including a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, bottled water, non-perishable foods, essential medicines, and extra blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Check on them after a storm or power outage. Register them, as a special needs customer with their utility so they will become a priority customer. Notify others who could provide help such as neighbors, relatives, nearby friends and local emergency responders such as the fire department.
  • Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
  • Have a standby generator or an alternative source of power available. Be aware of the safety rules for its use.
     

What Carbon Monoxide Does to You

Too much carbon monoxide in your blood will kill you. Most of us know to try to avoid this. Less well known is the fact that low-level exposure to this gas also endangers your health. One of the truths of our human bodies is that, given a choice between carbon monoxide and oxygen, the protein hemoglobin in our blood will always latch on to carbon monoxide and ignore the life-giving oxygen. Because of this natural chemical affinity, our bodies – in effect – replace oxygen with carbon monoxide in our bloodstream, causing greater or lesser levels of cell suffocation depending on the intensity and duration of exposure.     

The side effects that can result from this low-level exposure include permanent organ and brain damage. Infants and the elderly are more susceptible than healthy adults, as are those with anemia or heart disease. The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning are so easily mistaken for those of the common cold, flu or exhaustion, that proper diagnosis can be delayed. Because of this, be sure to see you physician about persistent, flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue or generalized depression. If blood levels of carbon monoxide are found to be high, treatment is important. Meanwhile, it makes good sense to put heating system inspection and maintenance on your annual get-ready-for winter list. Prevention is the best cure. 

 

 

These helpful public service announcements are provided by your local emergency management & safety agencies