Fire department warns of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in winter months

By WEEK Producer

Credit: MGN online

Fire department warns of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in winter months

October 24, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 11:05 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. – Winter is making an early appearance in central Illinois and the Normal Fire Department is warning residents of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).

Each year thousands of people are sickened or killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control reports that cases of carbon monoxide poisoning have been on the rise in recent years, climbing 36 percent between 2001 and 2006.

The highest threat comes during the winter months when the windows are closed and the furnace is running.

Because CO is odorless and colorless, it can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At low levels of exposure, CO can cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. Many people may mistake the symptoms as a seasonal cold or influenza, and may not recognize there is an issue of CO poisoning.

“It’s important, especially this time of the year when everyone has their windows and doors closed up tight, that you have a working CO alarm in your home, and test it on a monthly basis, just as you should with your smoke alarms” said Matt Swaney, Public Information and Public Education Officer.   “Last year, we had several cases where the CO alarm detected dangerous conditions inside a dwelling.  With Carbon Monoxide, early detection is key to prevent illness or even death.   Without a working CO detector, these instances could have had a tragic outcome.”

For more information on how to prevent CO poisoning and what to do if your CO detector goes off, visit the Normal Fire Department’s website.

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