Mont. County Public Health gives carbon monoxide tips

Montgomery County Public Health wants everyone to be warm this winter, but they also want them to be safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a news release.

Every year, many people get sick or die due to carbon monoxide poisoning from alternate heating sources.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that can kill in minutes. It is invisible, tasteless, odorless and non-irritating. Carbon monoxide is produced from burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, propane, gasoline and kerosene.

Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer.” It can prevent the body from getting oxygen. Symptoms can be flu-like and can include nausea, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, sleepiness and weakness. In large amounts, carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness, brain damage or death.

Public Health suggests these safety tips to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

∫ Make sure fuel-burning appliances are properly installed, operated and serviced by qualified technicians according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.

∫ Properly vent all fuel-burning appliances to the outside of the house and make sure the vents are not covered with snow, tarps or other items.

∫ Consider buying a vented space heater when replacing an unvented one.

∫ Never use a portable generator, gas or charcoal grill or portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, building or shed.

∫ Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and don’t close it until the ashes are cool.

∫ Move your idling car or truck outside the garage to warm up.

∫ Never use gas appliances, such as stoves, ovens, or clothes dryers, to heat your home.

Working carbon monoxide detector alarms provide warning signals and critical time to escape your house in case of a carbon monoxide incident. Place carbon monoxide alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Test all alarms every month to make sure they are working properly.

If there is a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning:

∫ Get out of the building and into fresh air.

∫ Call the fire department from outside the building.

∫ Call 911 if anyone is experiencing symptoms, or take the ill person to the emergency room. Tell the physician about the suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

Don’t let having a carbon monoxide detector give the impression it is all the security needed to be safe. Preventing the problem is better than relying on an alarm.

For more information, call Montgomery County Public Health Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (518) 853-3531.

By Josh Bovee

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