Know More about carbon monoxide poisoning this winter

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Tips for avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning (from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention):

  • Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check/replace the batteries often
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and feel dizzy, light-headed or nauseous
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home
  • Never run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the garage door open
  • Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented
  • Never heat your house with a gas oven

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A New Year's party took a turn for the worst when ten people were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning near Denver.

Local authorities say they receive the most calls for carbon monoxide during these winter months. Know More about the danger.

Whether it's starting your car in or near the garage or a water heater that hasn't been serviced in a while, carbon monoxide can creep up on anyone. Since it's colorless, odorless and tasteless, authorities say a detector is the only way people can really protect themselves.

Brandi Black has had a close call with carbon monoxide.

"It was at a friend’s house in Rifle, and in the morning when we had woken up, the detector was going off," Black said. “It turns out the water heater had been leaking and the levels in the house were really high."

Black’s friend was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, but both were able to escape, thanks to a beeping noise.

Fire officials say the majority of the carbon monoxide calls they respond to are during the cold winter months.

"Anytime you have something heating-- let's say heaters, cooking-- carbon monoxide can be produced,” Grand Junction Fire Captain Matt Carson said.

Because you can't see, taste or smell the gas, the fire department says there's really only one way to know if you're in danger.

"Your detector is the only way of notifying you [that] you have it in your house," Carson said.

True Value Hardware store sees an uptick in sales for its carbon monoxide detectors this time of year.

"People spend more time indoors in the winter of course," sales associate Lindsay Holmes explained.

Though battery operated detectors are popular, Holmes says there's an advantage to the electric ones.

"Usually they're interconnected, so that if one alarm goes off, the rest go off,” he said.

The detectors should also be placed generously around the house and the batteries checked often.

"At a minimum, you should have one within 15 feet or even closer to each sleeping room," Holmes said. The fire department also recommends putting one outside of each bedroom.

Sometimes the carbon monoxide detectors chirp for no reason, but what's a few chirps if it means saving a life?

“They're just annoying, and you don't think it's anything you have to worry about, but --I don't know-- I guess [carbon monoxide poisoning] happens," Black said.

In 2012, the Grand Junction Fire Department responded to about 100 calls from a carbon monoxide detector going off. In those calls, fire crews found carbon monoxide about 20 times.

Homeowners can also purchase a portable carbon monoxide detector for traveling just as an added safety measure.

Authorities suggest checking your heating system and other gas, oil and coal burning appliances each year.

Carbon monoxide detector manufacturer Kidde recommends replacing the entire detector unit every seven years. This way you can upgrade to the more advanced technology.


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