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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Carbon monoxide awareness urged

November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month as carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a greater risk during the heating season.

Nationally, carbon monoxide is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning deaths and accounts for more than 50,000 emergency department visits each year in the U.S.

Here are some do’s and don’ts from the New Hampshire Carbon Monoxide Work Group:

DO have your fuel-burning appliances – including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves – inspected by a trained professional and make certain that flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.

DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel-burning.

DO install at least one CO detector in the living areas of your home, preferably one on each floor.

DO know the symptoms of CO poisoning, which even at moderate levels, includes severe headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea or faintness.

If you experience symptoms that you think could be from CO poisoning:

DO get fresh air immediately.

DO call 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.

DON’T idle the car in a garage – even if the garage door to the outside is open.

DON’T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time, and DON’T ever use a charcoal grill indoors.

DON’T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.

DON’T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.

DON’T ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them.

For a comprehensive source of information on carbon monoxide safety tips, emergency generator usage, health risks, and more, visit www.nh.gov/co.