Carbon Monoxide Safety: Know the Facts

Carbon monoxide (CO) is well known as an odorless, colorless gas, otherwise undetectable to the senses. It can cause poisoning and even death when undetected.

Anderson Township’s Fire and Rescue Department reminds residents that the beginning of the heating season is a good time to have your fuel-burning appliances inspected. Why now? It’s because carbon monoxide is produced when fuel is burned, including wood and gas.

“Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include nausea, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, altered mental status and loss of consciousness,” said Lieutenant/paramedic Doug Eagan. Poisoning can occur within minutes if exposed to a high concentration of carbon monoxide, he added. The township’s safety service providers responded to 20 calls related to carbon monoxide last year alone, according to Assistant Chief Bob Herrlinger.

The U.S. Fire Administration and Anderson Township’s Fire and Rescue Department recommend placing a CO detector in a central location outside sleeping areas and every level of your home. Herrlinger suggests residents check the batteries on those detectors when you examine your smoke detectors, twice a year.

Also recommended: yearly inspections of your fuel burning appliances including gas and oil furnaces, gas water heaters, gas or kerosene space heaters, gas dryers, ranges and ovens. Additionally, check out:

  • Fireplaces.
  • Wood stoves.
  • Flues and chimneys (check for blockages and cracking).

“Over 150 people die in the US each year from CO poisoning,” Herrlinger said. “Don’t become a statistic- keep your appliances in good working order.”