Reduce carbon monoxide risks as dangers increase during cold weather months
Published: 2:16 PM, 01/24/2014
Last updated: 4:01 PM, 01/24/2014
Source: The Herald-News
To keep warm air in and cold air out in winter months, most of
us strive to keep every door and window tightly closed. While that may help reduce heating bills, it
may also increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless,
colorless and tasteless gas that causes more than 400 deaths and 20,000 visits to hospital emergency
rooms in the U.S. each year. It is found in combustion fumes produced by small gasoline engines,
stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges or by burning charcoal or wood in a fireplace. Carbon
monoxide from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, and people and
animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing the gas.
symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting,
chest pain and confusion and are often mistaken for common winter illnesses such as severe colds and
flu. Over time, exposure to carbon monoxide can cause brain damage and death.
The best way
to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a battery-operated
carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. These work very much like smoke detectors,
giving a loud beep or other signal when carbon monoxide is detected. The inexpensive devices are
available at most hardware stores.
Other ways to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
• Have your chimney inspected each year by a qualified person to make
sure it is not blocked and that it ventilates properly.
• Never use a gas range, cook
top or oven to heat a home.
• Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern or
portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.
• Never run a generator, pressure
washer or any gasoline-powered engine inside a garage, basement, crawlspace or other enclosed
structure, even if the doors and windows are open.
• Never leave the engine running in a
vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.