By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency
According to the National Safety Council, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year.
Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because it’s odorless, colorless, tasteless, and can easily go undetected. When the cold temperatures start to hit, what’s the first thing we do? We turn on our furnaces to heat our home and tightly seal our windows. If your furnace is emitting poisonous gases, you are trapping them in your house.
Here are a few things you do to help prevent this silent and deadly killer. First, it’s important to have your furnace inspected and serviced annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests we install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near every area in the home used for sleeping and be checked regularly to be sure they are working correctly.
The CDC shares additional ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure:
- Do not use a generator, charcoal grill, or other gasoline/charcoal fueled device inside your home, basement, garage, or near a window.
- Do not run your vehicle inside an attached garage, even if the garage door is open.
- Avoid burning anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented.
- Do not heat your home with a gas oven.
- Avoid using a generator, power washer, or any other gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, vent, or door.
Poisoning symptoms may appear like the flu and cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness and may not appear until hours after exposure.
If gone undetected, the exposure will continue to build up in your system. As the gases build up, the symptoms will become stronger and appear more quickly.
Many deaths occur while sleeping because the symptoms go undetected. It’s essential to keep you, your family and pets safe by taking the necessary precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If you think you have been exposed to these poisonous gases, please seek medical attention immediately! Your life depends on it.