Keeping Safe As Cold Weather Begins

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The leaves are changing, the temperatures are cooling down and many of us are turning up the thermostat.

As the heat comes on inside, EMS crews say their calls pick up from those suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Usually about this time of year we will start seeing some. At the start of the fall when the weather starts getting a little chilly people turn on their furnaces the first part of the season and that is when they find out that something has gone wrong over the summer time," says Jim Williams EMS Field Operations Manager at The Medical Center.

One problem may be old furnaces. Local heating companies say they should only last 10 to 15 years. Any longer and you could have some major issues.

"One thing to look is hosing and heat exchange problems. If you have that it could cause gas leaks and could be potentially dangerous," says Justin Wright from Affordable Heating & Air.

Those gases are especially dangerous since carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled. Medical personnel say many who have CO poisoning are often fooled by the symptoms.

"What you can normally expect to have are basically the same sings of symptoms of the flu. That's what makes it confusing because it starts about the time cold and flu season starts," says Williams

The easiest way to protect you and your family is with a CO detector. Local heating companies say a simple phone call also doesn't hurt.

"Just prevention maintenance. People calling to make sure their units are up and ready for the winter time," says Wright.

Local emergency personnel say carbon monoxide poisoning is also common for those who use generators due to power outages. Generators should be about 15 feet away from a home and never used inside.

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