Prepare for cold weather by checking carbon monoxide detectors
Properly working home heating devices and carbon monoxide detectors save lives
As temperatures start to drop, the Lincoln County Health Department wants to remind residents to take action to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. “As folks seal up their homes for the colder months and fire up their furnaces, fireplaces, or wood burning stoves, it is wise to make sure their fuel burning appliances and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order,” said Michael Mandli, Environmental Health Specialist, Lincoln County Health Department.
On average, carbon monoxide poisoning sends about 500 Wisconsinites to the emergency room each year, according to data from the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. These trips to the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable when people are prepared. To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. All single-family duplexes and homes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement. Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Daylight Savings Time changing is a good time each year to replace the batteries in both of your detectors and push the “Test” button to be sure they’re working properly. Replace your detector every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, and RVs.
Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
Never run a car in an enclosed space. Even with a door or window open, carbon monoxide levels can still build up to an unsafe level.
Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide include headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. If you think you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911. Do not re-enter the building until it has been declared safe to do so.
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 their Facebook page. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.