The Silent Killer

By: Amy Jones
By: Amy Jones

A Bowling Green family survives a close call after carbon monoxide fumes built up after someone accidentally left the car running in the garage overnight.

Fire officials say they had handled many close calls. They say it is important to put carbon monoxide detectors in your home. If you do, make sure you put the detectors in all the areas where you sleep.

Garages and gas furnaces are some of the most common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some of the symptoms of poisoning include fatigue, nausea, and tightness across the chest.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Tips

  • DO have your fuel-burning appliances -- including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves -- inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.

  • DO choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside whenever possible, have them properly installed, and maintain them according to manufacturers’ instructions.

  • DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel burning.

  • DO call EPA’s IAQ INFO Clearinghouse (1-800-438-4318) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (1-800-638-2772) for more information on how to reduce your risks from CO and other combustion gases and particles.

  • DON’T idle the car in a garage -- even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.

  • DON’T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.

  • DON’T ever use a charcoal grill indoors -- even in a fireplace.

  • DON'T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.

  • DON’T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.

  • DON’T ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/coftsht.html (United States Environmental Protection Agency).


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