Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the number one cause of unintentional poisoning in the United States, claiming approximately 1,000 lives every year. Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by combustion of natural gas, oil, wood, and other Carbon containing compounds burn.
Until recently, Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the home was not as much of a concern. Now, with our more air tight homes, fresh air is less likely to enter while CO is less likely to escape. Because of this Foxburg Fire Department realized that it is necessary to educate the public about the dangers of CO, as well as have a way to identify it's presence. The following information will help to identify CO poisoning, help determine the action you should take, and provide other important information necessary to protect your family from CO poisoning.
Sources of CO in your home:
Carbon Monoxide may leak into your home for the following reasons:
If you suspect problems with any of the above, have them checked by a professional. Gas furnaces and other heating appliances should be checked annually by a professional to insure that they are working efficiently and venting properly. Older appliances and furnaces should be replaced if necessary.
- Blocked chimneys due to improper cleaning, bird nests, leaves, rust, ect. (including chimneys for gas water heater, dryer, and other appliances).
- Use of gas cooking appliances for heating
- Automobiles running in attached garage
- Indoor use of barbecue grill
- Appliances that are malfunctioning or were improperly installed
- Space heaters (including 'ventless heaters')
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
Signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning include:
Greater concentrations of CO can cause you to go unconscious, or death may occur. You will notice that these symptoms are much like flu symptoms. This makes CO Poisoning very hard to recognize. Ask yourself the following questions if you display the symptoms: Are other members of the household feeling ill as well? Do you feel better when you are away from the house for a period of time? CO Poisoning will affect children and the elderly first, and the symptoms will begin to disappear in fresh air.
- Nausea and Vomiting
Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends at least one CO Detector per household, located near the sleeping quarters. An additional detector near the heating source can also be used for an added measure of safety. If you need more information about CO detectors, you may contact Foxburg Fire Department.
What if my CO Detector sounds an alarm?
First of all don't panic. Open the windows and evacuate the house as quickly as possible. Family members should meet in their pre designated meeting spot for other emergency situations. Call 911 from a neighbors phone and advise them of your problem (symptoms, alarm sounding, exhaust smell). Under NO circumstances should you re-enter the home until the Fire Department says it is OK. Firefighters will determine the source of the CO and advise you of the action necessary to correct the problem. Additional detectors may be left behind for a short period as an extra precaution.
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