With the onset of winter, many families increase their usage of appliances and equipment that can generate carbon monoxide gas. This includes furnaces, water heaters, stoves, ovens, kerosene space heaters, wood and gas fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, portable generators, and automobile engines.
Carbon monoxide gas is deadly, even though it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Even when not fatal, it can cause permanent damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system. It affects people of all ages, with infants and children being most susceptible to its lethal effects.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers offers these simple steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
Have your furnace inspected and adjusted before every heating season.
Have your chimney, fireplace, and wood stoves, and flues inspected before every heating season.
Have chimneys and flues repaired as needed.
Ventilate the room every time you use a kerosene space heater.
Do not use charcoal grills indoors for cooking or heating.
Do not use your oven for heating your home.
Do not leave your car’s engine running in an enclosed or attached garage.