Health Department warns of dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
As the temperature drops and Lincoln County residents begin using their furnaces, fireplaces, and other heating equipment, the Lincoln County Health Department wants to remind residents to take action to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. “To prepare for winter weather, Wisconsin residents should ensure that their source of heat and their carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order,” says Jeremy Blankenship, Environmental Health Specialist, Lincoln County Health Department.
CO poisoning is the most common cause of deadly poisoning. About 50% of all CO poisonings occur in the home. According to the National Public Health Tracking System, there are an average of 450 deaths and 21,000 emergency room visits per year nationally. Wisconsin averages 18 deaths per year due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
The following tips will help you and your family stay warm and safe this winter season:
• Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area. CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and the sound of CO alarms. Both detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores.
• Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure yours is working properly and vents outside of the home.
• Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside.
• Generators should be run a safe distance from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
• Put a carbon monoxide detector in your camper, cabin or tent. With hunting season here, hunters and other campers are encouraged to put a battery-powered CO detector in their cabin, tent, RV or wherever they may be sleeping.
In every situation, prevent exposure and know the symptoms. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion and disorientation. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. If you suspect that you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your CO detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
For more information about carbon monoxide, visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/air/co.htm. For more information about Lincoln County Health Department’s programs and services, visit lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com or like us on Facebook. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.