Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer because it is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Carbon Monoxide or otherwise known as CO is a product of incomplete combustion. The only way to know we are breathing this oxygen depriving gas is through detection. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and other loved ones.
1. Install a UL approved CO detector on every level of your home making sure one is by the bedrooms.
2. Test the detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
3. If the CO detector alarms check it for proper operation, get everyone out leaving windows and exterior doors closed. Call 911.
4. Have a licensed professional install or perform yearly maintenance on furnaces and keep all fuel burning appliances working properly.
5. During cold weather check your vents for ice blockage. Clear any ice that is blocking the vents. Use caution if you have to climb on the roof or call a professional to clear the vent for you.
6. Move your vehicles outside to warm up rather than in the garage.
7. Symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic the flu include headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, elevated heart rate leading up to unconsciousness, convulsions, major organ failure and even death. Watch if you or other family members feel sick at home but fine when out of the house.
8. Small children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems are more susceptible to Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
9. Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Alarms, with battery back-up, are essential and are even more critical when using emergency generators and alternate heat sources. If not vented properly the use of an emergency generator and alternate heat sources increases your chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Remember to think safety this winter and make your home a safe home. Find these and many more fire safety tips and resources on our website at www.bismarcknd.gov/fire or on the National Fire Prevention Association webpage at www.nfpa.org/safety.