To the Residents of Olmsted Township Ohio
The Olmsted Township Fire Department recently responded to two separate emergency calls where hazardous gases were found in the basement of residences. Lack of maintenance to the sump pump battery backups was determined to be the cause. The batteries were being used as alternate power sources in case the primary power source is lost. In both situations, Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen Sulfide gases were found inside the residences. The source of the gas release was due to little or no water in the batteries. Lack of water in certain types of batteries may cause the cells of the batteries to overheat and off gas causing a hazardous condition as mentioned above. Both of the batteries where tied to an electrical power source through an inverter/ charger to keep the battery fully charged. A picture of a sump pump with a battery back-up system is attached.
There are generally two different types of batteries that can be used on battery back- up systems for sump pumps. One is a lead acid (or wet cell) and the second is a Gel Cell (valve regulated or deep cycle) battery. The lead acid (or wet cell) battery needs monthly maintenance and requires distilled water to be periodically added in order to keep water levels ½ inch above the top of the plates. Be advised that the more often your battery runs, the more often it will need to be filled. The second type is a maintenance free battery and is called a gel cell (valve regulated or deep cycle) battery. Regardless of which battery you have, keep in mind that all batteries should be checked regularly by someone who is knowledgeable and can test them to make sure they are working properly. Remember to always follow the manufacture’s recommendations. Along with this, keep the area where the battery is stored clean and clear of objects. For further information on sump pump maintenance, you can go to https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-maintain-sump-pump.htm
We would like to remind everyone to check their Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors and switch out the batteries in them when you change your clocks on November 4, 2018. The state fire marshal recommends that every home have a smoke detector installed on each floor, including in a finished attic, in the basement and in each bedroom. Keep in mind that smoke detectors have a service life of ten (10) years. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector on each living level, in the basement, and near (not inside) an attached garage. It is also a good time for you to discuss and formulate a home escape plan that includes two exits from each sleeping area so you and your family knows what to do in the event of an emergency. For further info please contact the Olmsted Township Fire Department at (440) 235-3746 or visit our webpage at olmstedtownship.org/fire.
Respectfully Yours in Safety & Service,
The Olmsted Township Fire Department