Too often when it comes to Carbon Monoxide the stories we see making the headlines are tragedies. A couple years ago however, in Medway we heard a story with a much happier ending when an off-duty firefighter smelled a suspicious odor while dropping his children off at day care. The school, which did have Carbon Monoxide detectors that had not yet gone off, was able to evacuate and no one needed medical attention. Usually Carbon Monoxide does not give off an odor (which is part of what makes it so deadly) but because the leak came from an oil burner malfunction a smell was present. This story is a great reminder of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, especially this time of year.
November through February represents the leading months for Carbon Monoxide poisoning because as temperatures drop people begin cranking heating systems that have been dormant for most of the year. Carbon Monoxide is created when fuel burns incompletely, and is often called the “invisible killer” because it is a poisonous gas invisible and odorless. Below are some tips for keeping you and your loved ones safe from Carbon Monoxide poisoning this winter.
-Install a Carbon Monoxide detector on every level in your home. Not only is this a good safety practice it’s actually the law in Massachusetts. Nicole’s law was put in effect March 31st 2006 and named after a 7 year old girl who died when a heating vent was blocked by a snow drift.
-Have your heating systems, water heater and other gas or oil burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
– Have your chimney checked or cleaned regularly. Chimneys can be blocked by debris, allowing Carbon Monoxide to build up inside of your home.
-Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
-Don’t use a gas range or oven for heating your home.
-Don’t use portable grills inside, or burn charcoal inside.
For more information about Carbon Monoxide poisoning