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Tips to Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by the incomplete burning of any carbon-containing material, including gasoline, natural gas, propane, coal or wood. CO is dangerous because it replaces oxygen in the blood and interferes with the transport of needed oxygen to cells in the body.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Many incidents involving carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented — with the right preparation. Start with these eight tips to help keep your home and family safe from carbon monoxide.

  1. Know the risks of carbon monoxide.
    Anything that burns a fuel — such as a furnace, fireplace, generator, gas appliance or car — produces a toxic by-product: carbon monoxide (CO).When these devices are properly maintained and vented, this colorless, odorless gas can be effectively dispersed and channeled out of your home. If not, inhaling carbon monoxide can trigger serious health issues.

    At lower concentrations, victims may experience such symptoms as a headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. But at higher concentrations, CO can quickly cause a loss of consciousness, even death.

  2. Keep your vents clear.
    During and after a storm, make sure nothing is obstructing the outside stack or vent for your dryer, stove, furnace and fireplace.Take special care to prevent snow from building up and blocking these critical exits for dangerous gases.
  3. Do not run engines in a closed area.
    Proper ventilation is critical to avoiding CO poisoning. So do not start a car, fire up a grill or stove, or run a generator in a closed area — like a basement or garage.Even if you leave the garage door open, carbon monoxide gas can quickly build up to toxic levels.
  4. Schedule regular maintenance.
    Make sure you rely on experts to install your fuel-burning devices and set up the appropriate venting for each device.At least once a year, have a qualified professional inspect your fuel-burning devices to make sure they continue to operate properly.
  5. Keep fireplaces clean and well vented.
    If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, make sure you keep it clean and that the flue is working properly. Read More
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