Dihydrogen Monoxide (D2O) is a colorless, odorless gas produced naturally in certain materials such as coal or wood stoves. Dioxide is another name for it. When these substances are burned, they produce heat which creates carbon dioxide and water vapor. These gases then combine with oxygen to form water and CO 2 . The resulting mixture is called “dioxide” because it’s made from two simple ingredients: oxygen and hydrogen.
The main component of the atmosphere is nitrogen, which makes up less than one percent of the air. Oxygen makes up 99.9% of the air. Nitrogen and oxygen molecules have opposite charges, so when they come into contact with each other, their forces cancel out and neither gets any attraction toward the other.
The result is that there isn’t much force between them at all; it’s like touching a wall without holding hands! That’s why nitrogen and oxygen don’t mix. They’re opposites, but they work together very well.
When you burn coal or wood, the energy released causes some of the nitrogen and oxygen atoms to combine with each other in a chain reaction that produces carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so it floats away from the flame until it falls through the air into your home. There it attaches to any nearby oxygen molecules. The oxygen has a positive charge (it has an extra electron), and the carbon monoxide has a negative charge.
Opposites always attract, so the two opposite charges attract each other strongly. The oxygen becomes tied up with the carbon monoxide to form “dioxide” or “Mono-oxide” as it is sometimes called.
CO can be made out of anything that burns — not just coal and wood. It can even be made out of natural gas or propane by changing the way the fuel is burned.
When you burn natural gas, nitrogen and oxygen are still present, but carbon monoxide is not. Instead, you get a mixture of mostly nitrogen and oxygen with a little methane added in (that’s the natural gas smell).
When you burn propane, only nitrogen and oxygen are present at first. However, the combustion process releases enough extra energy to cause some of the nitrogen and oxygen molecules to react with each other. They team up to form water (H 2 O) and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). That’s why propane appliances sometimes seem to make less noise and use less electricity than natural gas appliances.
The combustion process isn’t perfect. Sometimes it makes dioxides instead of water (H 2 O). Most of the dioxides are formed when the flame is too hot. Hotter flames also burn cleaner, so appliances with perfect combustion produce fewer dioxides.
The dioxides that are formed never hang around the flame very long. They float away and spread through the atmosphere, looking for any available oxygen molecules to tie up with. The resulting mixture is called “Mono-oxide” or just plain “dioxide.”
It doesn’t matter where the dioxides come from, they’re all alike. They’re produced naturally in forest fires and volcanoes, but they can also be produced by automobiles and other gas burning engines. Even lightning produces dioxides.
Dioxides are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. You can’t smell or taste them at all. You can’t even see them unless you use a very expensive scientific instrument called a spectroscope. A spectroscope breaks white light from a flame into all the colors of the rainbow.
The dioxides absorb some of those colors so they show up in the spectrogram as dark lines. If there are a lot of dioxides present, the spectrogram shows dark lines across the entire rainbow! The more dioxides, the darker the lines.
Dioxides can be poisonous. You can absorb them into your body in two ways. You can breathe them in, or you can eat them (in which case they get into your bloodstream through your stomach). Breathing them in is worse than eating them.
Either way, they tie up your body’s oxygen molecules and keep your body from using them.
When the dioxides start combining with the oxygen in your bloodstream, you don’t usually feel anything for about an hour. Your brain doesn’t have enough oxygen to think anymore, so you become unconscious (pass out). After that, your brain starts to die and you slip into a coma. If the dioxides keep on combining with the oxygen in your bloodstream, they keep on killing brain cells until they run out.
Mono-oxide poisoning is an insidious killer. It sneaks up and kills you while you are asleep. Even if you know it’s in the room with you, there is nothing you can do about it.
The only way to stop it is to get fresh oxygen into your blood stream as quickly as possible. The fire department uses a machine called a “respirator” to push clean fresh air into a person’s lungs. An even better way is to make the patient breathe into a paper bag. That makes the patient’s own lungs push the clean air into the bloodstream.
You’ve seen people in movies eat carrots when they’re about to pass out. The theory is that carrots have a lot of oxygen in them so they help you keep awake and alive.
There are also two safety devices on gas appliances that help reduce the chance of a fatal buildup of dioxides. One is a flame-failure device called an “Automatic Vent.” If the flame goes out on its own, for any reason, the Automatic Vent opens and lets out the flammable gas (and dioxides). The Automatic Vent’s job is to keep the appliance from getting hot enough to explode if the flame goes out on its own.
The other safety device is called a “Flow-Sensing Valve.” It monitors the flow of gas in the pipe. If the flow rate drops below a certain point, the valve opens and releases some of the gas–and the dioxides–before they can build up. The purpose of the Flow-Sensing Valve is to protect you in case someone turns off your gas supply while you’re asleep and the Automatic Vent fails to open.
The next time you go into a restaurant and they light the burners on the stove, take a look at the pipe that brings the gas into the building. You should see two small wheels mounted on the pipe. One wheel should be orange and one should be red. If you turn off the valve that feeds the gas to your house, you should see those wheels slowly start to turn.
They are the Flow-Sensing Valves.
Safety doesn’t happen by accident.
A residential gas system has three main components:
The pipe that carries the gas from the street into your home (the main line).
The valve that controls the flow of gas to your home (usually near the point where the main line enters your house).
One or more gas appliances, like a water heater or stove. These have their own shut-off valves, which may be located in a cabinet near the appliance.
The main line and shut-off valve are normally located outdoors, but the pipe that leads into your house is often (but not always) inside your house. You can see the main pipe just beyond your fence, dug into the ground and running along the street toward your house.
The gas company puts the main line and shut-off valve in before your house is built. They don’t normally do any work on them afterwards, unless there’s a problem with them.
NOTE: There is a potential safety hazard associated with the main line, where it comes into your house. If there is a leak in the main line, you could have a build-up of gas in your house. To prevent this from happening, the gas company burns off (or flushes) the main line before it enters your home.
The burn-off process uses a lot of water and can’t be done during freezing weather. If the main line is still burning off when the weather gets cold, the gas company will flush the line again in the spring. (Don’t light any matches near the main line until it’s been flushed again–just in case there’s still a little gas in there somewhere.)
Your gas appliances have their own Flow-Sensing Valves. The valves are designed to open and release gas if the flow of gas through the appliance ever slows down for any reason. So if your stove stops working, don’t just turn off the gas at the stove. You need to find out why it stopped working and fix the problem.
Some problems are as simple as a dirty Flow-Sensing Valve.
Any time a valve releases gas, it sets off the Safety Switch in your meter. This shuts off the gas to your house and starts a 20-minute timer. When the timer goes off, you can turn the gas back on. (When the problem is fixed, or if the problem is in the main line or a pipe leading from the main line to your house, you should call the gas company immediately.)
If you have more than one gas appliance–for example a stove and a water heater–you need two shut-off valves. But if you have a problem with only one of them, you need to turn off only that one. That’s because both of the valves serve both appliances. If you turn off both of them, you have no gas coming into your house at all.
If you should need to turn the gas off at any time, just remember this simple rule: If it’s a burning problem, turn off only the burning appliance’s valve. If it’s a non-burning problem, turn off both valves.
It’s always a good idea to have an emergency supply of batteries for your flashlight. That way, if there’s a gas leak or a problem with the main line, you can use your flashlight to warn people away from the house. Also keep in mind that you can do temporary repairs–like stuffing rags into cracks in the pipe or relighting pilot lights–if you need to get to a phone or elsewhere in an emergency.
Always plan your escape route before a fire starts. That way, if the fire gets out of control and you can’t put it out, you can get to safety quickly.
If your house were on fire, how would you escape? What would you take with you?
Think this through now, so that when the time comes, you’ll be prepared. (You may want to prepare a “go-bag” with important papers and a few essential items. Make sure everyone in your family knows where it is and how to find it.)
In every room of your house, there should be at least two ways out. This includes the basement, which has just one way out: the stairs. Make sure there is a window or door leading outside in every room on the ground floor. Don’t forget the bathroom!
Make sure every door in your house can be easily opened from the inside. (Door knobs that can be locked from the outside are dangerous, because you might need to get out fast and can’t do it.) If you have sliding glass doors in the back of your house, make sure they have strong locks on them. Don’t ever prop open outside doors: It only takes a few minutes for a fire to spread through the whole house.
Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher in your house. Check it every month to make sure it’s working properly. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, get one right away. They cost between $10 and $20.
If you have children, remember that they may not be able to get out of a burning house by themselves. They also may not be able to crawl quickly through a small space. Plan your escape routes with this in mind.
There are also “safety sheets” available for children to take with them when they travel to different places. For example, if you’re going on an airplane, the child should have the safety sheet with them so that if something bad happens, they can get a flight attendant’s attention immediately. The safety sheet has pictures of the child on it and describes what they are wearing so that the flight attendants can quickly find them if needed.
Before you go to bed, make sure your smoke detectors are working. Pick a night when everyone is awake, take them into the hall, and test them by pushing the “test” button. If it doesn’t work, replace the batteries or contact whoever services them.
Make sure you have a fire escape plan. Point out two or three escape routes to your children and explain that they should run to them if there is a fire. Tell them to close the door if they can, but never go back inside a burning house. (If you do this, they are more likely to remember.) You may want to practice this at least once where there is no fire so that everyone feels comfortable with the plan and knows what to do.
A house can be destroyed in as little as three minutes by a fire. This may seem hard to believe, but it’s true. Three minutes may not seem like much time, but if you are far enough away from your home when the fire starts, you have a good chance of saving most of your belongings. This is where having two or three escape routes come in handy.
It’s also a good idea to take your most important papers and photographs with you when you go out.
It has been proven that the best way to save your family in the event of a fire is to stay low to the ground and crawl close to the floor–away from the flames and smoke–to safety. This may seem silly, but if there is a fire you will have very little time to get yourself and your family out of a burning building.
If you are unable to escape a fire, there are still several things you can do before losing consciousness.
Close all the doors in your house. This will keep the fire from spreading as quickly.
Cover yourself with a wet blanket or towel (if you have time) to keep from inhaling the super-heated air. The air in a burning building can be hotter than 1000 degrees!
Keep low to the floor and crawl along the floor to safety.
If you have a breathing problem, take your medication and leave your bedroom window open before you go to bed.
If you have someone visiting who is having a medical emergency and there is a fire, get them out first, then deal with their medical needs.
If your house catches on fire:Do not use the elevators. They could break down and become your tomb.
Be aware of toxic fumes that can kill you in a matter of seconds. If you are near the fire or in the smoke, your eyes will burn and tear up, you will cough profusely, and you could lose consciousness.
If your home has a basement, go there immediately. The basement is safer than any other part of your house. If you are trapped upstairs, find a window that leads to the basement (they are usually at the back of the house near the kitchen or in the back hallway).
Crawl low under any smoke or flames and feel your way to safety. If there are stairs, crawl down them.
If you have another choice, do not break a window to escape. The exploding glass could hurt you and the fire could burn you. Look for a door or window that leads to the basement.
If there is no basement, look for windows that open or a door that leads to an outside area (like a porch or patio).
If you live in an apartment, find the stairs that lead to the ground level and follow the directions listed above.
If you live in a mobile home, leave immediately. Find a clearing that is least 300 feet from the home (to avoid explosions and fires), then run.
If you are driving in your car and see a building on fire, get away from the area quickly–preferably in the opposite direction. Do not stop until you are several blocks away from the fire.
If someone needs medical attention and you cannot get them out of the house, move away from the house immediately.
Most injuries and deaths occur because of smoke inhalation and not the flames. The closer you are to the fire, the more dangerous it is. So, if you can get away, do it. If not, close all your windows and doors so that the fire fighters can easily find a place to enter your house.
If you have no choice but to stay in your burning home, wet a blanket or towel and place it over your air intake system (windows or doors) or put it over your head. This will keep you from breathing the toxic smoke.
Try to keep a window or door open a little bit, so that fire fighters can see the smoke. If there is a hole in the floor near the bottom of the door, open it up and stick your arm through it so that the fire fighters can see it (this is called “shining a light”).
If you cannot breathe, put the damp rag or towel over your nose and mouth. Try not to move too much; it could make you lose your balance. If the smoke is too bad, lie down on the floor and get as low to the floor as possible.
If you have a cell phone, call 911. Tell them your name and address, and tell them what is going on in your house. Tell them if anyone is still there with you. Stay on the line with the 911 operator.
They will try to help you.
Once outside, do not go back inside for any reason. Many people have gone back inside their burning homes to save their pets or valuables and have never come out.
If you lose consciousness, you could choke on your vomit and die. If this happens, do whatever you can to let people know that you need medical attention right away.
If you do not have a cell phone, call 911 from a neighbor’s house. Cell phones work from great distances (sometimes even inside a building). You can even call 911 from a gas station or bus stop and give them your address if you are nowhere near your home.
If you can get outside your house, do it. But, remember that the fire fighters will not be able to see you when they arrive unless you open the door or have a window open. If you are near an outside window, open it and hang a towel out the window. If you are near a door, open it and turn on the inside light.
If you live in an apartment building or several story house, tell 911 your address and which floor you are on (even if you don’t know which floor you are on). If you are in danger, they will tell the fire fighters exactly where to find you.
If you are with someone, stay with them. Firefighters will be there as soon as they can. Once they arrive, stay where you are and wait for them to get you out.
If you are by yourself and near a door or window, open it and wait for the fire fighters to come inside and get you. Stay calm and try not to move too quickly.
If there is smoke in the hallway or near your door or window, try another area. The fire may be blocking your way out.
The fire department is trained to help you get out of a burning building, but you have to stay calm and let them do their job.
What is Bunking?
Sleeping in school is called bunking. About 1 in 20 teens do it at least once a month. Many more do it, but they won’t admit it.
What are some reasons kids bunk school?
Some kids don’t like something that is going on at school, but don’t want to change schools. Some think they are too smart to be in school. Some just don’t like school and would rather hang out with their friends or do something fun. Others are not doing well in school and are afraid of getting into trouble.
Some kids think that if they are asleep, the teachers won’t be able to yell at them or call on them to answer questions. Some kids who bunk school will admit that they just don’t feel like going to school that day.
What are the dangers of bunking school?
If you get caught bunking school, you can get suspended or even expelled from school. This will ruin your record and might keep you from getting into college. Getting caught also means you will miss important school events like field trips or even your own graduation!
What are some ways to make sure you go to school every day?
Most kids say that they just need to get their sleep and that they will go to school. Don’t believe it. If you have a regular bedtime and a regular wake-up time, your body gets used to it and you will feel miserable if you sleep in. Set your alarm and USE IT.
Sources & references used in this article:
The green beauty guide: your essential resource to organic and natural skin care, hair care, makeup, and fragrances by J Gabriel – 2008 – books.google.com
Holistic Beauty from the Inside Out: Your Complete Guide to Natural Health, Nutrition, and Skincare by J Gabriel – 2013 – books.google.com
Homemade Face Masks Using Simple Kitchen Ingredients by V Veerula – emedihealth.com
The influence of eWOM on virtual consumer communities: Social capital, consumer learning, and behavioral outcomes by H Finder, MB Connection, SSH Journey – botanicalbridge.com