Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to a study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, winter has the deadliest months of the year when it comes to carbon monoxide poisoning. Deaths were highest among men and senior citizens. The reason being, there is an increased risk among people who work power tools and appliances that are fuel-burning in their garages or on a jobsite. Also, elderly individuals tend to associate the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning with just having a cold or the flu.

Here are some tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.

  1. Have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every level of your home. If you have family members who often work in the garage, it is also a good idea to have one installed here. Check the monitors and test regularly to make sure they’re working properly.
  2. Have your home’s heating system inspected yearly by a professional. Heating experts will be able to detect leaks from your furnace or boiler.
  3. Don’t heat your home by leaving the door open on your natural gas oven.
  4. Don’t sit in a garage with your car running to try and warm it up.
  5. Don’t use a fuel-burning generator, grill, camp stove or space heater in an enclosed area, such as a basement or garage.
  6. Have your fireplace cleaned yearly by a chimney sweep to get rid of built-up creosote and ash.
  7. Don’t burn anything in an unvented fireplace. 

If you hear your carbon monoxide detector going off, get out of the house immediately and call 911. Be sure that your family has practiced an emergency plan for this type of situation.

Get more information about carbon monoxide and its dangers from Poison Control.