Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning this Winter
ITHACA, N.Y.(WENY)-- As the colder temperatures are slowly starting to creep their way in, many more people are getting ready to start up their furnaces if they have yet to already. Even if you have already started your furnace, first responders are saying it is still important to get it serviced by professionals before the temperatures really drop.
"CO is no joke. Carbon Monoxide is a leading killer and the problem is that it's silent. It doesn't have any color, it doesn't have any odor, and it's a neutrally buoyant gas. So if the CO goes off in your house, and you don't have a detector, there's no way you're going to know about it," Assistant Chief Thomas Basher with the City of Ithaca Fire Department tells WENY News.
Because CO is a silent killer, it is important to have trained professionals look at your furnaces so they do not leak large amounts of CO into your home.
"You want to make sure that your furnace is operating properly and that it can breath and has a vent outside somewhere that it can get the air in. But the best thing to do is have a professional come out and service it per the manufactures recommendations and make sure that it's working properly now before we get into the real cold season," says Basher.
Even after getting your furnace properly checked out, it is also important to have working Carbon Monoxide detectors, along with your fire detectors, because there little to no difference between CO poisoning symptoms and another common winter illnesses symptoms.
"It may be nausea, it may be light headedness, it may make you feel sick which is hard because it's also symptoms of the flu. So people may not even know that they have a CO problem. We started carrying Carbon Monoxide detectors on all of our medical bags so that if we go into a house for a medical call where someone thinks that they just aren't feeling well, it'll tip us of to say hey maybe there's a Carbon Monoxide problem here," Basher tells WENY News.
Basher told WENY News that along with keeping in check with your furnace and detectors, that it is best to avoid heating your car up in your garage. If the car is parked in a garage, it is best to pull it out as soon as you start it, especially if you plan on leaving it running for an extended period. Carbon Monoxide can build up quickly and cause injuries and even death. It is more worth it to run out in the cold for a few moments and start your car than to risk poisoning you or a loved one with Carbon Monoxide.