Unless the weather forecasts were completely wrong — and what is the chance that could ever happen? — you are dealing with cold weather outside as you read this. In fact there are chances that Kansas will get its first snow of the season today, and pretty much the whole state is seeing sub-freezing temperatures over the next couple of days.
We are far from hitting a major winter storm yet, but we are at that point that people need to start paying attention to the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The storms that his the northeast this past week triggered one instance, according to the Associated Press.
“Ten residents of Meriden, Conn., including six children, have been hospitalized after they were exposed to carbon monoxide. A generator was found operating in the basement of the two-family home,” the AP reported. “Firefighters had to break down doors and wake people to get them out of the house. Officials say another child passed out.”
It’s a dangerous situation and everyone needs to pay attention to avoid this killer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide — CO — is “an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. “CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it.”
Tips for avoiding CO in the home include:
• Have heating systems, water heaters and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
• Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors. Although these heaters don’t have a flame, they burn gas and can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
• Install a battery-operated CO detector and check or replace the battery annually at least.
• All gas appliances must be vented so that CO will not build up in structures.
• Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
• Have chimneys checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up.
• Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside structures.
• Never run a car or truck in the garage with the garage door shut. CO can build up quickly while a vehicle is running in a closed garage.
As more of us live in tighter homes with less air exchange around doors and windows, the risks continue to rise, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to the danger and to take precautions.
Let’s face it; our firefighters and EMTs have enough to do without us adding to their workload by not being careful.
— Chuck Smith