January is Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness month, and with that, it is a great time to be reminded of the dangers of CO, and how you can protect your family.
CO poses a great danger because it is odorless and invisible, and is often known as the “invisible killer.” Indications of possible CO poisoning include chronic headaches, nausea and shortness of breath. These signs can often be confused with food poisoning or the flu. CO poisoning can occur when appliances that burn, such as furnaces, boilers and water heaters, are used improperly.
“It is important to learn and to know the warning signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “Something as simple as installing a carbon monoxide detector can protect you and your family.”
In order to protect residents from the dangers of elevated CO levels, in 2014, Supervisor Bosworth and the Town Board unanimously approved the required use of digital carbon monoxide detectors in places of assembly (0-50 people) and public assembly (50 or more people).
Additionally, in 2016, the Department of State adopted a rule that requires CO alarms in all commercial buildings.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “if you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Leave the home and call for assistance from a neighbor’s home. You could lose consciousness and die from CO poisoning if you stay in the home.”
Some carbon monoxide safety tips provided by the CPSC include:
- Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
- Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
To view a brochure on carbon monoxide awareness, visit www.northhempsteadny.gov/COawareness. For more information on carbon monoxide awareness, call 516-869-6311.