October 26, 2006
Charlotte, NC – Record cold weather has hit the Charlotte region very early this season. As temps drop and residents prepare to turn their clocks back Sunday morning, the Mecklenburg County Health Department wants to make sure they remember the dangers associated with carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a potentially killer gas that is produced when fuels such as gasoline and kerosene are burned. Its source can be anything from electric generators and camp stoves to charcoal grills and gas-burning logs. CO can accumulate rapidly even in areas that appear to be well ventilated. It frequently produces symptoms such as weakness and confusion and may render its victims unable to seek help. Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States, killing nearly 4000 people annually.
These are just a few reasons why Mecklenburg County implemented a carbon monoxide ordinance requiring ALL homes in the county to have a working CO alarm.
Just this week, the Charlotte Fire Department was called to an apartment in the southwest part of the city where a resident was using a charcoal grill as a heater. The home was not equipped with a working CO alarm. Fortunately, an alarm in a unit four doors away sounded sending first responders to the complex where they found CO levels more than 10 times the acceptable limit. Also, one person was taken to the hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here are some useful tips to help keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning:
· Install a battery-powered CO alarm in your home and change the battery each fall and spring when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
· Never use a generator, charcoal grill or any gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, basement, garage, or near a window.
· Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
· Never run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
· Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed.
To learn more about Mecklenburg County's carbon monoxide ordinance and much more about how to keep you and your family protected, visit the Health Department's CO poisoning prevention Web site at