Don't be poisoned by carbon monoxide this winter

Did you know that carbon monoxide related poisonings increase by 10% during winter months?

That's right, the increased use of home heating systems, use of gasoline-powered generators during and after winter storms, and indoor use space heaters all contribute to the increased dangers of carbon monoxide exposures during winter.

At any time of the year, carbon monoxide is referred to as "the silent killer" because it can't be seen or smelled, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Even more die from carbon monoxide produced by idling cars. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. Read More.

Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Tips

Always Do

  • Install a UL certified battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Remember that CO detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa.
  • Carefully follow manufacturers' instructions for placement, use and maintenance.
  • Have a high standard CO detector fitted outside sleeping areas, and main living areas on each level of the home.
  • If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911. Digital models offer the advantage of being able to observe levels that are below the alarm threshold.
  • Recognize symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning.
  • Adhere to manufacturers instructions when using appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered

Regularly Do

  • Have a qualified technician fuel-burning appliances and chimneys at the beginning of each heating season to make sure they are operating properly.
  • Have your vents and chimney checked and cleaned annually.
  • Have a energy audit of your home done every five to ten years - not only will it identify carbon monoxide leaks (even at low levels,) but an audit can also lower your utility bills by identifying was of improving your home's energy performance. Visit longislandgreenhomes.org for more information.

Never Do

  • Never use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or outside near a window.
  • Never run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Never heat your house with a gas stove or oven.
  • Never sleep in a room with an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater.

Sustainability Institute at Molloy College

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