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How to Protect Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Since carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, you cannot see or smell it, making it extremely dangerous. However, if it should accumulate in high levels then it can kill a person in minutes. In cases of improperly maintained appliances that burn fuels, the chances of CO level accumulation becomes hazardous. The CO produced by idling cars can also be fatal.

Except for electricity, every other piece of equipment that burns fuel creates carbon monoxide. Whether it is fuel oil, natural gas, propane, wood or kerosene, all of these will create CO gas. The best thing to do is to buy a detector. These are inexpensive devices available in several different types, including simple plug-in detectors as well as permanent installations.

Get your heating system checked for CO emissions at the beginning of each winter season. Never use a combustible fuel heat source for additional heating. For instance, propane or gas cooking stoves, a camping stove or a camping heater should not be employed for creating heat. In case you need anything beyond electrical room heaters for more warmth, then look into combustible fuel heat sources that features exterior vents. Make sure you use kerosene space heaters and vented gas haters in well-ventilated spaces only. Never burn charcoal inside vehicles, your home, cabin, garage, camper or tent.

It is not safe to run your car inside a closed garage. Warm up your car outdoors or with the garage door open to avoid chances of CO gas accumulation. In case you get stranded in your car in the winter, keep each window open about one inch if you need to run your car for heating purposes. Do not run gasoline-powered engines inside closed spaces such as garages or basements. Make sure that your furnace has adequate intake of outside air.

Ensure that you get the chimney and flue inspected and cleared up every year. The technician ought to check them for all kinds of blockages, corrosion, partial or otherwise. Also check for disconnections and loose connections to ensure properly working parts.

All appliances that have been installed and working should be as per the manufacturer's instructions and according to the local building codes. See to it that these appliances are fitted by professionals. Only use a qualified technician to install or convert fuel-burning equipment from one type to another.

And under no circumstances should you ignore an alarm from a carbon monoxide detector. If the detector sounds off then rush on to immediately ventilate your home by opening windows and doors. Gather everyone and move them outside to fresh air. Call emergency services to have experts deal with the problem.


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