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CO Danger
Remember Carbon Monoxide Danger

The Health Department warns of carbon monoxide danger during winter weather.

January 31, 2007

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for our area and the Mecklenburg County Health Department wants to remind residents that snow and ice events can be a "prime time" for deadly accidents related to carbon monoxide poisoning.

When winter’s bitter grip takes hold, many Carolinians use extraordinary means to stay warm. Unfortunately, many of these "keep warm" methods can have tragic consequences.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced from burning fossils fuels. It can accumulate rapidly even in areas that appear to be well ventilated. It frequently causes weakness and confusion leaving its victim unable to seek help. Worse, it is colorless and odorless and one can affected without even knowing there’s a problem.

Each year, large numbers of people are exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide from improperly vented or leaking furnaces, ovens and fireplaces. Many more are killed or injured from the improper use of generators or the burning of charcoal or other fuels without sufficient ventilation. Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States, killing close to 5,000 and injuring more than 10,000 annually. Senior citizens, pregnant women, young people and those with respiratory or heart problems are especially at risk from CO poisoning.

That’s why Mecklenburg County has a carbon monoxide ordinance requiring ALL homes in the county to have a working CO alarm. The ordinance was enacted following a major ice storm in 2002 in which several residents died from exposure to the deadly gas.

Important tips to remember to help avoid exposure to carbon monoxide include:
· Install a battery-operated CO alarm in your home and be sure to change the battery each spring and fall when you change the time on your clocks.
· Never use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal burning device in your home, basement, garage, or near a window.
· Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed.
· Never run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your home, even if you leave the door open.
· Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.

· Install a battery-operated CO alarm in your home and be sure to change the battery each spring and fall when you change the time on your clocks.· Never use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal burning device in your home, basement, garage, or near a window.· Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed. · Never run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your home, even if you leave the door open. · Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.

For much more information on keeping your family safe from carbon monoxide exposure, check the Health Department’s CO poisoning prevention Web site www.carbonmonoxide1.com .




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