BOISE, ID – The Boise Fire Fighters Local 149 warn against deadly Carbon Monoxide poisoning and offer tips for safety.
Odorless, colorless carbon monoxide (CO) is poisonous and potentially deadly to all people and animals. CO is the leading cause of death by accidental poisoning in the US* and each year, causes more than 400 American fatalities and over 20,000 visits to the ER. In winter months, the air inside your home not only gets stuffy, but it can become dangerous. With your home buttoned up tight against the cold, its important to maintain appliances and properly use tools to stay safe.
BFF Local 149 spokesman Matt Lutz warned, “CO is a silent killer. Although a hazard in any season, CO poisoning is a greater danger in winter months. When we shut our homes up against the cold, we are more susceptible to accidental poisoning that can lead to death.”
If you cant see it and cant smell it, then what is it exactly? Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels like coal, wood, charcoal, oil, natural gas, propane and kerosene are burned incompletely. Sources of CO include tools and equipment like cars, generators, power blowers, and lawn mowers as well as malfunctioning appliances such as furnaces, A/C units, refrigerators, stoves, or water heaters. If appliances malfunction, they can begin leaking carbon monoxide into your home.
The danger with carbon monoxide is that people may not know they are being exposed because it is, essentially invisible. The use of carbon monoxide detectors can help by sounding an alarm if a leak is detected. If poisoning begins to occur, initial symptoms are similar to the flu and include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breathe but will not include a fever. A high level of CO poisoning increases the severity of symptoms, but also can include vomiting, mental confusion, loss of coordination and consciousness and can lead to death.
The Boise Fire Fighters Local 149 offer the following info on CO poisoning: