It’s time for a little quiz.
How many of you burn fuels such as:
Did you check any one of the boxes? All of the boxes? If the answer is “yes”, you have the potential of being poisoned by a small amount of Carbon Monoxide, or CO. CO is an odorless, colorless gas. It can kill you.
CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
According to the CDC, while everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
How can you keep your family and friends safe?
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move quickly to a fresh air location, and then call 9-1-1.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas (avoid corners where air does not circulate). Test the alarm every month.
- Treat the alarm signal as a real emergency each time. If the alarm sounds and you are not experiencing any symptoms described above, press the reset button. If the alarm continues to sound, call the fire department.
- Do not use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.
- Never use a generator, grill or camp stove inside a home, garage or basement.
- Have heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually, checking for blockages, corrosion, and partial and complete disconnections.
- Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.
Learn more about how you and your family can stay safe this winter. Visit www.redcross.org/prepare for helpful tips, tricks and information.