Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - A Colorless, Tasteless, and Odorless Killer

As many of you are aware, there was a tragic death with a couple more close calls in the District of Columbia a couple of days ago related to Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. With the cold weather our furnaces, wood stoves, space heaters, and fire places will be working to keep our homes toasty warm. The use of improperly operating oil, natural gas and LPG forced air heating systems and appliances can result in CO poisoning.

Heck, leaving your car running in an attached to your home garage can result in CO leaking into your home!

With the above in mind, I would like to offer some of the CO exposure warning signs and symptoms and what you can do to protect yourself and your family from this hidden danger. CO is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, and non-irritating gas that you may be unaware you are breathing. The signs/symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

•Symptoms often described as “Flu-like”

• Mild headache initially, increasing in intensity to throbbing headache

• Shortness of breath

• Irritability and fatigue

• Impaired judgment

• Memory loss

• Vomiting

• Symptoms can progress rapidly to coma and death

• Symptoms decrease when leaving the home or location to go to work, school

Some standard steps to prevent CO poisoning from occurring:

• Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm or AC-powered unit with battery backup on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.

• Have your furnace checked before use each year to ensure adequate ventilation and proper operation.

• Always provide adequate ventilation when using wood stoves, fuel-fired space heaters, and fireplaces and ensure proper installation, adjustment and operation of all flame-burning appliances.

• Never use an oven or gas range to heat the house. These appliances use the existing oxygen supply.

• Never burn charcoal inside a home or other enclosed space.

• Always ventilate generators used to run cleaning equipment, pump water or supply electricity to a home. Generators used in a garage can result in fumes seeping into the home.

• Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting. Have all fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually.

• Do not block or seal shut the exhaust flues or ducts used by water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.

• Do not leave your car running in an attached garage or carport.

• Replace CO alarms every five to seven years in order to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.

If you are in doubt about whether you may be the victim of CO poisoning or a leak, call 9-1-1.

No comments: