For Release on:  October 25, 2009

With the arrival of cooler fall temperatures & winter fast approaching we switch our homes from the cooling breeze of the air conditioner to the warmth of the furnace.  Furnaces, fireplaces, portable heaters, generators, and home appliances that are fueled by propane, natural gas, or heating oil can produce lethal amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) if not operating correctly or vented properly.    

Hundreds of people die each year from unintentional CO poisoning known as the “silent killer.”  CO is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane, burn incompletely.  CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches.  Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, but infants, pregnant women and people with physical conditions that limit their ability to use oxygen, such as emphysema, asthma or heart disease, can be more severely affected by low concentrations of CO than healthy adults. High levels of CO can be fatal for anyone, causing death within minutes.  Fire departments across the nation respond to estimated 61,000 CO incidents a year. 

            The Union Fire Protection District would like to reduce the number of carbon monoxide incidents in and encourage everyone to install CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of accumulating CO. Have your heating equipment inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.  Keep in mind:

UFPD CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and CO alarms.
UFPD Test CO alarms at least once a month.
UFPD If your CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location and call for help. UFPD Remain at the fresh air location until emergency personnel say it is okay.
UFPD If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries or other trouble indicators.

The Union Fire Protection District wants everyone to be warm and safe. Make sure your home has carbon monoxide alarms.

Any questions or comments contact:  Union Fire Protection District