Carbon monoxide gas has no odor, taste, or color. What it does have is the ability to cause you and your family grave illness, or even death. According to the CDC, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning that is not linked to fires, and more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room each year suffering from its effects. Carbon monoxide comes from the burning exhaust of fuels such as oil, wood, coal, and natural or propane gas and a leak occurs or there is poor ventilation. Portable generators, your vehicles, gas appliances, furnaces, and your fireplace are all common culprits of carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Because many people rely on portable generators for heat after a winter storm power outage, it is not surprising that most portable generator-related carbon monoxide deaths occur in homes during colder months.
Follow these tips for carbon monoxide poisoning prevention:
- Never cook indoors with gas or charcoal grills.
- Do not leave your vehicle running in your garage. Also, have your car’s exhaust system checked every year. A small leak in the exhaust system or a blocked tail pipe can both lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide inside the vehicle itself.
- When you buy gas equipment or appliances, check that it carries the approval seal of a national testing agency. It is always safest to have any new gas, coal, or oil burning appliance installed by a service professional, someone who knows exactly how to properly connect and vent the item.
- Portable generators should never be used in attached garages or basements, and should always be placed outdoors where exhaust fumes cannot enter through any openings to the home.
- Your fireplace should be cleaned of debris every year as carbon monoxide can build up when the chimney is blocked.
Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention should be taken very seriously. Common carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or an upset stomach are not overly obvious, and young infants or people with chronic health issues are more likely to be strongly affected or killed by the fumes. You can be harmed by being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide over a short time, or to lower levels over a longer period of time. You should make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. If your detector alarm goes off do not ignore it, get everyone out of the house and then call 911 immediately.
For more information, please visit www.FirstProtector.com.