Fulton County Fire Rescue Department urges residents to protect against CO poisoning | Families
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- The Fulton County Fire Rescue Department urges every resident to learn the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental non-fire-related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators and other products including faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.
“Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed,” states Chief Larry Few, Fulton County Fire Rescue Department. “Although the popularity of carbon monoxide alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), carbon monoxide is often called the invisible killer because it is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
To protect your family from the dangers of CO:
•Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of CO.
• Install CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home.
• Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows and vents.
• Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
• Remove vehicles from the garage immediately after starting.
The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
- Shortness of breath
High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death
Like smoke alarms, CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. Carefully read and following installation directions.
In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found, or an average of nine such calls per hour. The number of incidents increased 96 percent from 40,900 incidents reported in 2003. This increase is most likely due to the increased use of CO detectors, which alert people to the presence of CO.
Contact the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department at 404-612-5700 for more fire safety information and tips.