With the arrival of colder weather, there is an increase of fuel-burning appliances being used in the home. These appliances include furnaces, ovens, space heaters, generators, indoor grills, and fireplaces, and they can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up in the home.
According to a study from 2004 to 2006, children younger than 5 years old have the highest estimated rate of CO-related visits to the emergency room each year among all age group in the United. Nationally more than 25 children die from CO poisoning every year. In Kansas, over 500 people have been hospitalized and four people have died from CO poisoning over the past 10 years.
Important safety tips to protect families from CO poisoning:
- Prevent CO buildup in the first place — make sure heating appliances are in good working order and used only in well-ventilated areas.
- Do not run a car engine in the garage, even with the garage doors open. If you need to warm up your vehicle do it outside first.
- Install a CO alarm outside every sleeping area, on every level of your home and at least 15 feet away from every fuel-burning appliance. When you check your smoke alarm batteries each month, check the batteries on your CO alarms at the same time — and replace the batteries twice a year.
- Never use an oven for heating.
- Portable generators must be used outside for proper ventilation. They cannot be used indoors or inside of a garage.
- Have all gas, oil, or coal burning appliances inspected by a technician every year to ensure they are working correctly and are properly ventilated.