NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling warned residents about the dangers of carbon monoxide during the holidays.
Deaths caused by carbon monoxide, a highly dangerous colorless, odorless gas, increase in cold weather. Over 400 Americans die every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning that is not caused by fires. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your family:
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by:
- Gas fireplaces, boilers, central heating systems, water heaters, cookers and open fires which use gas, oil, coal and wood
- Leaving a car in a closed garage with its engine running, which produces deadly amounts of carbon monoxide within minutes
- Burning charcoal
- Blocked flues and chimneys
- Tobacco smoke
- Wood stoves not properly installed
Remember that carbon monoxide has no smell, no taste, and no sound, and neither people nor animals can tell when they are breathing it, but it can cause unconsciousness and death within minutes. Here are some steps you can take to prevent injury or death:
- Never use a generator within 20 feet of a window, door or vent; exhaust can be drawn into the residence through windows, doors, and other openings. Do not operate generators indoors, in a garage or carport, or near your home.
- Don’t try to make your house extremely air-tight by weather-stripping and placing plastic on all your windows, and do not block vents. Air changes are necessary, not only for fuel burning appliances, but also for your health.
- If you are considering replacing your heating system or installing a generator or gas fireplace, please hire a professional for your safety.
- Keep appliances in good working order, and use them safely. Have them serviced regularly by a professional.
- Do not use gas ranges or ovens for heating your home.
- Have chimneys and flues swept thoroughly by a fully-qualified professional at least once a year.
- Be careful to ventilate the area well when using gas-powered tools and equipment inside rooms.
- Do not leave gas powered vehicles running in a garage.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.