Fall 2016 | cbservices.org

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Preventing CO Poisoning in Your Home

The weather is getting cooler, and depending on what part of the country you live, the heating system in your home will either be turned on for the first time this season, or has already been running for a few weeks. With that in mind, it is a good idea to remind ourselves of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.

CO is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you. It is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

Here are some of the ways the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you can prevent carbon monoxide exposure:

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage or near a window.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Don't heat your house with a gas oven.

According to the CDC, while everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

Take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your family from this silent killer.