There are families in our community mourning the loss of three people last weekend who are believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
While we can say little to comfort these families on their loss, we urge everyone to be vigilant in monitoring your home for this deadly substance.
Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. It’s produced when you burn fuel in your vehicle, small engines, lanterns, grills, fireplaces and furnaces. The gas can build up indoors and lead to a variety of symptoms, like dizziness, upset stomach, headaches and confusion.
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 400 Americans died from unintentional CO poisoning each year while symptoms send more than 20,000 people to their local emergency room for treatment.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from CO poisoning is to install a CO detector in your home. Keep the batteries fresh, changing them each fall and spring when the time changes and you change the batteries in your smoke detector.
These alarms should be placed somewhere it will wake you up at night and be replaced every five years.
If this alarm sounds, leave your home and call 9-1-1.
Other recommendations from the CDC include having your heating system, water heater and other appliances that use gas, oil or coal served by a qualified technician every year.
Keep your generator, pressure washer or other gasoline-powered engines away from windows, doors and vents. Don’t use a charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device indoors or near a window. Don’t let your car idle in your garage, even if the door is open. Don’t burn anything in a non-vented stove or fireplace. Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
And if you are having symptoms of CO poisoning, seek medical help immediately.