While our entry into autumn has been warm this year, cooler weather is on the way with the change of leaves, and with that we will put away our air conditioners, close our windows and turn the heat on. With the change of seasons, from warm to cool comes a statistical increase in Carbon Monoxide (CO) Emergencies.
Carbon Monoxide, sometimes referred to as “The Invisible Killer,” is an odorless and invisible gas, undetectable by human senses, that is created when fuels … such as wood, natural gas, propane, methane, kerosene, coal, oil and gasoline … do not completely burn. Carbon Monoxide can result from a number of common household items, such as barbecue grills, water heaters, gas ovens, furnaces, clothes dryers, wood stoves and portable generators.
Every home should have Carbon Monoxide Detectors, or their smoke detectors should be combination Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detector. While it is the law that each home in Connecticut have a Carbon Monoxide detectors, that doesn’t mean that each house or apartment has one … it is up to you to ensure your house is protected, you are protected, your family is protected.
CO Alarms should be installed in a central location outside each bedroom, and on the entry level of a home. If possible, each alarm should be linked, so if one sounds, they all sound.
Once installed, just like a smoke detector, each alarm should be tested each month. It takes five minutes or less and can save your life.
If your CO alarm sounds, immediately leave your home for fresh air. As winter is coming you may choose to relocate to yourself and your family to your car so you may stay warm, that is OK. If you relocate to your car make sure your car is not in your garage. If your car is in your garage, park it outside, in your driveway or the street.
After a snowstorm, clear snow away from your dryer vent, or vents that serve your stove, furnace or fireplace. Snow can trap the CO in your home.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning may include
• Shortness of Breath
Extremely high levels of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning can be fatal within a matter of minutes. Symptoms of severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning include
• Mental Confusion
• Loss of Consciousness
• Loss of Muscular Coordination
On average, more than 150 people die annually from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the United States, and Fire Departments respond to more than 80,000 CO emergencies, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Anyone who suspects that they may be suffering from the effects Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, or if their CO Alarm is sounding, should immediately move outside, to fresh air and call 9-1-1-.