Take Precautions Against Carbon Monoxide

December 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

The colder weather in many parts of the country has people turning up the heat and possibly increasing their chances of exposing themselves and their families to a silent killer: carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless and colorless gas found in the emissions of fireplaces, gas stoves, water heaters, kerosene heaters, furnaces and boilers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 Americans die each year from unintentional CO poisoning.

Severe symptoms of CO poisoning include vomiting, loss of consciousness, heart irregularity and breathing difficulties, but these symptoms can vary widely based on the exposure level, duration and the health and age of an individual.

Every home should have a working carbon monoxide detector and you should never ignore the alarm or turn it off without having the sources of CO checked in your home.

To protect your family this and every winter, the American College of Emergency Physicians offers the following safety advice:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, especially near the sleeping areas.
  • Have gas appliances installed by a qualified professional.
  • Use only appliances that vent fumes outside.
  • If you choose to use an unvented fuel-burning space heater, only use it while someone is awake to monitor it.
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
  • Never use a charcoal grill inside.
  • Never leave the motor running of a vehicle parked in an enclosed garage.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan over your gas stove when using it.
  • Make certain the fireplace flues are open during use.
  • Have gas furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces and flues inspected annually by a qualified service technician.

Entry filed under: Safety.

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