By now, many of you may have heard about the tragic carbon monoxide poisoning that led to the death of a restaurant manager on Long Island. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. Because this gas is undetectable, it is of paramount importance to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
Carbon monoxide is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it. Below are some precautions you can take to prevent CO leaks in the home.
- Service Your Appliances- CO can leak from your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances. Having these items serviced by a qualified technician every year will add to your peace of mind.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors- Make sure to purchase carbon monoxide detectors for use throughout your home. Remember to ensure that the dector is working or batteries are charged. A useful tip: Change the batteries in your CO detector in the sping/fall when you set your clocks!
- Vent Your Gas Appliances- All gas appliances must be vented so that CO will not build up in your home.
- Don't forget the chimney- have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. A blocked chimney can cause CO to build up in your home.
Carbon monoxide can also build up from cars. In order to prevent CO leaks have a mechanic check the exhaust every year. Also, be sure to never run your vehichle while the garage door is shut, CO builds up quickly in that space.
If you suspect there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home- GET OUT! Carbon monoxide is just as deadly as a fire. CO gas can and does kill in minutes, don't be fooled by it's odorless, colorless properties.
After you have safely left your home, be sure to contact the fire department & inform them that you suspect a carbon monoxide leak. Do not return to your house for any reason. The proper authorities will have the right equipment with which to enter your house safely.
Contact your doctor immediately or go straight to the hospital to get yourself and family members checked out. If you have pets, you can get them seen by the vet for advice and treatment.
Once you have been advised that you can return, you should arrange for certified service engineers to check all fuel-burning appliances, vents, furnaces, and chimneys. Once these have been deemed safe, you can then resume normal use.
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