It is vital to perform checks on one’s house and car exhaust-pipes. Clogging in these pipes can lead to a build-up of Carbon Monoxide (CO), which cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. With no warning signs, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is known as the silent killer and affects many unaware victims. The symptoms caused by CO are easy to mistake as symptoms of stress, or maybe a cold/flu. Low risk levels can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and fainting. Higher risk levels can lead to unconsciousness and death.
Here is a list of things we forget to do, but are important, immediate fixes to protect against CO poisoning:
- Check CO alarms to see if they may have expired.
- Older alarms should be replaced every 5 – 7 years per directions
- Some of the latest alarms contain the Lithium battery which must only be replaced every 10 years.
- Test the alarm, to ensure batteries are working. Replace if not.
- Check out this list of common household sources of Carbon Monoxide provided at MassGov. Do all of these have proper ventilation? Are the near working CO alarms?
- Furnaces and water heaters
- Chimneys and woodstoves
- Gas and oil fueled space heaters
- Blocked furnace and dryer vents
- Car tailpipes blocked by snow
- Running vehicles
- Barbeque grills and camping stoves
- Gas ovens used for heat
- Gas tools such as snow removal and yard equipment
Prevention is the best cure. These few steps will insure that you and your family are ready for anything that blows our cold New England way.
For more information about CO safety visit Mass.gov.