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SYMPTOMS OF CO POISONING
Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you.
The initial symptoms of CO are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
Remember, if you have any of these symptoms and if you feel better when you go outside your home and the symptoms
reappear once you're back inside, you may have CO poisoning.
CLUES YOU CAN SEE
Rusting or water streaking on vent/chimney
Loose or missing furnace panel
Loose or disconnected vent/chimney connections
Debris or soot falling from chimney, fireplace, or appliance
Loose masonry on chimney
Moisture inside of windows
CLUES YOU CANNOT SEE
Internal appliance damage or malfunctioning components
Improper burner adjustment
Hidden blockage or damage in chimneys.
The West Milford Township Fire Department is equipped with carbon monoxide detection devices, however, if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, don't automatically call 911. Heed the manufacturers' advice: If no one in the house is feeling the symptoms of
Carbon Monoxide poisoning, it's safe to simply open the windows and call a furnace technician. If people are feeling woozy, get out, summon the
fire department, and tell them what your digital detector was reading when you left.
Carbon Monoxide is a gas that kills nearly 300 people in their homes each year. This "silent killer" has no smell. What's more, it has no taste or color.
WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE?
Carbon monoxide is produced by burning any fuel. Therefore, any fuel-burning appliance in your home is a potential CO source.
When appliances are kept in good working condition, they produce little CO. Improperly operating appliances can produce fatal CO concentrations in your home. Likewise, using charcoal indoors or running a car in a garage can cause CO poisoning.
SOURCES OF CARBON MONOXIDE
1). Room Heater
3). Charcoal grill
5). Water Heater
6). Auto in closed garage
Carbon monoxide mimics the behavior of oxygen while withholding oxygen's benefits. Like oxygen, CO combines with blood hemoglobin in the lungs, and from there it's transported throughout the body, not to feed but to starve the tissues. At relatively low levels it can cause headache, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, chest pain, and fainting. These symptoms are often mistaken for common ailments like the flu. Continued exposure to high CO levels can bring on unconsciousness, brain
damage, and death.
If you have a fuel-burning furnace, appliance, or fireplace, you should have at least one CO detector, ideally in a hallway or sleeping area. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions to locate your detector.
The Fire Marshal advises that you look for a model with a full-range digital readout that constantly reports the CO level. An occasional glance will give you an idea of the CO levels in your home--and if the alarm sounds you can tell at once how serious the threat is.
Most people don't need to worry much about plug-in detectors leaving them unprotected during a power outage. If the power goes off, so will their gas- or oil-fired furnaces, removing the major sources of Carbon Monoxide. However, if you heat with wood, it's a good idea to have a detector with a battery backup or a battery-powered detector that will keep going through a blackout.
Last modified: December 13, 2003
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Make sure appliances are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals.
Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually.
Follow manufacturer's directions for safe operation.
Examine vents and chimneys regularly for improper connections, visible rust or stains.
Notice problems that could indicate improper appliance operation:
Decreasing hot water supply
Furnace unable to heat house or runs constantly
Sooting, especially on appliances
Unfamiliar or burning odor
INSTALL A CO DETECTOR FOR ADDED SAFETY (Must meet the requirements of UL 2034)
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO
Never burn charcoal indoors or in a garage. Never service appliances without proper knowledge, skills, and tools.
Never use the gas range or
oven for heating.
Never leave a car running in a garage.
Never operate unvented gas-burning appliances in a closed room.
The Township of West Milford
has an ordinance prohibiting the use of kerosene heaters as a primary source of heat in any residence.
Monoxide detectors are required in all multiple
family dwellings and boarding houses.