Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 2012 - Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide Safety
In light of a recent incident at the United States MerchantMarine Academy at Kings Point in Great Neck, where 39 people were taken to area hospitals for evaluation after Carbon Monoxide exposure.  We wanted to share information about the dangers of CO and how to best avoid the situation that occurred.

Carbon monoxide (CO), often called the silent killer, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Extremely high levels of Carbon Monoxide can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

General Safety about Carbon Monoxide
• Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.
• When using a fireplace, open the flue to ensure adequate ventilation.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered or blocked with snow or another obstruction.
• During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
• A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent intakes.
• Only use barbecue grills — which can produce CO — outside.
• Use battery-powered lights in tents, trailers and motor homes and motor boats.
• CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms.
• If the CO detector alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.

CO Detector Tips
• Install CO detectors inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
• CO detectors should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO detectors throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
• Combination smoke and CO detectors must be installed in accordance with requirements for smoke detectors.
• Choose a CO detector that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
• Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number 516-487-1086 to find out what number to call if the CO detector alarm sounds.
• Test CO detectors at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually between 5 and 10 years of the manufacture date stamped on the back of the detector).
• If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.

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