As we begin to utilize items to keep us warm this winter, please check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector to make sure it is working properly. It is always advised to have a battery-powered CO alarm, and this can help to lower the chance of casualties or accidents. Each year 430 people die in the U.S. as a result of accidental CO poisoning, and the truth is that many of these accidents could have been prevented.
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, poisonous and tasteless gas, which is why it is so harmful. CO is typically found in furnaces, vehicles, stoves, gas rangers, generators and from burning wood or charcoal. The CO from these items can build up in rooms or spaces without enough ventilation, leading to those in these areas at risk for poisoning. Aside from the risks or harms of CO, the positive side is that this is preventable. There are both DO’s and DON’T’s when it comes to preventing CO exposure, and I will give you some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Install a battery-powered CO detector in your home. If you already have CO detectors, be sure to check that the battery is still working, and if not be sure to change them.
- Have a qualified technician check you water heater, heating system, and any gas, coal, or oil burning appliances. This should be done every year to ensure that they are functioning correctly and are not at risk for malfunctioning.
- If your CO detector makes any sort of noise, immediately exit your home and call 911. If there was a potential exposure make sure that you and others are examined by medical professionals, especially if you are experiencing light-headedness, dizziness, or nausea.
- Use or burn anything on a stove or fireplace that doesn’t have proper ventilation, as this can cause a build-up of CO.
- Heat your house with a gas oven, as this can cause a high production of CO.
- Run cars or trucks inside a garage that is attached to your living spaces, even if you have doors or windows open.
- Use a camp stove, generator or charcoal grill in or outside of your home less than 20 feet away from doors, vents or windows.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning is preventable, but you have to be sure to take the time to make sure that your home and the items you are using are safe. It is easy to make a small mistake that has everlasting consequences. Take time out of your day to take action on these CO poisoning DO’s and DON’T’s to better protect yourself and those around you.