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Fire and carbon monoxide safety tips

From the U.S. Fire Administration

Did you know that heating is the second leading cause of home fires?

Stay safe during the winter with these tips:

Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.

Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.

Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters.

Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.

Never use an oven to heat your home.

Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

Carbon monoxide safety

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “Invisible Killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the U.S. die every year from accidental non-fire-related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other products include faulty, improperly used or incorrectly vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.

Know the symptoms of CO poisoning

Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are like the flu (but without the fever).

They include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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