(WENY) -- Carbon monoxide can be fatal for people exposed to it for too long and with winter in full force, residents in the Twin Tiers could be at a greater risk.  In the event of exposure, when symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion start to set in is when people should act. 

“Unfortunately, (if) you risk the dangers of carbon monoxide, the consequences could be fatal,” Chemung Co. Sheriff Bill Schrom said, adding, “It's tasteless, it's odorless, it's deemed the silent killer.”  

Dr. Dylan Kellogg, M.D. with Arnot Health, says the best defense is prevention and to use tools like carbon monoxide detectors to minimize potential exposure in your home.  

“If your detector does go off, get out of the house immediately and call 911,” Dr. Kellogg said, adding, “The fire department can come; they have meters they can check if they have carbon monoxide in the house. If you are exposed or think you're having symptoms related to carbon monoxide, come to the hospital for evaluation.”  

WENY News previously reported on the death of Richard Keyser, who succumbed to carbon monoxide exposure in his home in Southport. He and four others were sent to Arnot Ogden Hospital on January 17th to treat injuries they suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

It was found that Keyser was running a gas-powered generator through his bathroom, which was powering electricity to the home. That being said there are things that anyone can do to mitigate carbon monoxide issues in their home.  

“If you have residential appliances that are vented correctly, the risk is pretty low... When you start doing things like running a generator in your house, or turn your car on to warm it up and leave it in your garage with the garage door closed, that's going to generate a lot of carbon monoxide," said Dr. Kellogg.  

Dr. Kellogg says a great way to prevent exposure starts with making sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working year-round. He recommends people should change their detector batteries every fall and spring.