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Protect Yourself and Your Family from Carbon Monoxide

November 20, 2017 - 10:11 am
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PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: Fire Chief Donald Leshko  Hazleton Fire Department

When Firefighters arrived moments after dispatch at the Tragic Carbon Monoxide Incident this weekend in the City of Hazleton, an initial meter reading taken at the residence front door was 500ppm, an extremely dangerous level. The Hazleton Fire Department is issuing a URGENT PLEA to all Hazleton AREA residents to protect themselves from the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).  It is a poisonous gas known as the 'silent killer' since you can't see it, smell it, or taste it. Carbon monoxide can come from anything that burns fuels, especially if it is not used or vented in the right way. Examples include: furnaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, generators, gas-powered home appliances, gas-powered tools, gas and charcoal grills, and cars and trucks.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning can prevent the body from getting oxygen, and can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, headache, and dizziness, shortness of breath, sleepiness, and weakness. In large amounts, carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness (blacking out), brain damage or death. By knowing more about carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, you can protect yourself and your family," said Fire Chief Donald Leshko of the Hazleton Fire Department.  We need to learn from this tragic incident and make sure every home has a working carbon monoxide detector along with working smoke alarms….  

Install CO detectors on every level of your home and within 10 feet of the entrance to all bedrooms and sleeping areas:

Carbon monoxide detectors should be certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Carefully follow the instructions for installation, use, maintenance, and replacement.

Use battery operated or plug-in electric carbon monoxide detectors. If you choose to install an electric carbon monoxide detector, it must have a battery backup and it can't be connected to an outlet controlled by a wall switch. Check your detector batteries twice a year.

Carbon monoxide detectors don't last forever! Check the date on your alarm, they are typically good for 5-7 years but some are now good for 10 years. Always refer to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are fine.

If the alarm sounds, get out of the building and into the fresh air.

Having a carbon monoxide detector is great - but not enough! You also need to take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

Never use a generator or other gasoline-powered equipment, including portable flameless catalytic heaters, inside your home or garage, basement or any enclosed or semi-enclosed space even if doors and windows are open. Operate portable generators outdoors and downwind of buildings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a distance of at least 25 feet from the house window, door or vent.

Never use a gas range or oven for warmth.

Never use a charcoal grill or a barbecue grill in your home or garage.

Never start up or run any gasoline-powered engines (snow blowers, generators, mowers, weed trimmers, chain saws, or other small motors) in enclosed spaces.

Ensure that heating systems and appliances are installed and serviced annually by qualified professionals Never use a stove or fireplace unless it is properly installed and vented. Don't patch vent pipes in your home, cabin, camper, boat, or workplace with tape or gum. Chimneys should be checked and cleaned, as needed. When renovating a home or repairing a roof, make sure that tarps or debris do not block vents and chimneys.

Never run your car or truck or motorcycle inside a garage that is attached to a house or in a detached garage even if the garage door is open. Remove vehicles from a garage immediately after starting them, even if the garage door is open. If you open the tailgate on a running SUV or similar vehicle, open the vents/windows to ensure air flow and exchange. If only the tailgate is open, CO from the exhaust could be pulled into the vehicle. Ensure that vehicle exhaust pipes are not blocked in or after a heavy snowstorm. Make sure vents for the furnace, stove, fireplace and dryer are clear of snow.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and you’re Carbon Monoxide Detector Activates:

Open all windows and doors and get out of the building and into the fresh air.

DIAL 911 (Fire Department and EMS), if your heating unit uses natural gas, call the gas company from outside the building.

DIAL 911 if you or someone else is experiencing symptoms, or take the ill person to the emergency room, and tell the doctor you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

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