Tips released after carbon monoxide incidents in Pittsburg
PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg Fire Department recently responded to two carbon monoxide poisoning incidents. Now, they’re reminding residents of the importance of having working detectors in the home.
According to the Fire Department, those CO poisoning incidents forced residents in rental properties to evacuate due to hazardous levels of the poisonous gas. Both instances involved unlicensed and unpermitted work on the home.
Due to the dangerous nature of these incidents, the fire department wants to remind the community of the importance of having working carbon monoxide detectors in the home.
“Carbon monoxide detectors are inexpensive, easy to install, and prevent tragedies from happening,” says Pittsburg Fire Chief Dennis Reilly. “Having working detectors in your home is extremely important, and will protect your family and property.”
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. Some refer to it as the “invisible killer” because of its colorless, odorless nature. When fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane burn incompletely, it creates this gas. Heating and cooking equipment that burns fuel can also be a source of carbon monoxide.
According to the CDC, each year, at least 430 people die in the United States from accidental CO poisoning. Additionally, about 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department due to accidental CO poisoning on an annual basis.
- When doing construction work on your home, have the contractor obtain a permit and perform the proper inspections with the city’s building safety division.
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location at each sleeping area, and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
- Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds. In Pittsburg, that number is (620) 231-1870.
- Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. Is the battery low? Replace it. If it still sounds, call 9-1-1.
- If a CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until the fire department arrives. Do not open windows or attempt to ventilate the structure, as this can make it difficult for emergency personnel to determine the extent of the situation and locate the source.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
- A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
- Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide enters the body through breathing. You may confuse CO poisoning with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.
For more information, contact the Pittsburg Fire Department at (620) 231-1870.
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