Autumn is here and the cool evenings mean it’s time to turn on the furnaces. This is a great time to talk about carbon monoxide safety. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas which can cause illness or death any time a fossil fuel is burned (gasoline, natural gas, wood, oil, propane or kerosene). Safety tips can include:
*Know the symptoms of CO poisoning – Headache, nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, unconsciousness, and death.
*Have a CO detector in your home on every level and placed near your bedrooms – check the batteries monthly.
*Furnaces and fuel burning appliances (gas stoves, hot water tanks, gas clothes dryers, etc.) should be checked by a professional once every year.
*Never use a stove as a heating device.
*Fireplaces should be checked once every year to assure unobstructed venting and airflow.
*Check that all outside vents are clear of debris – especially after storms.
*Space heaters should be properly vented and not used when unattended or when people are asleep. Always keep children away from space heaters.
*Never use generators, gas grills or hibachi’s inside or in enclosed spaces (such as a garage).
*Never leave a vehicle running in the garage – even if the garage door is opened.
CO can build up in an enclosed area very quickly and can also travel through the home ventilation systems. Since we have no way of knowing it’s happening unless there is a working CO detector, it can be very dangerous. If the CO alarm goes off or if family members have symptoms, get everyone out of the house and call 911 from outside of your home for assistance.