News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Mill City Fire Department urges carbon monoxide safety

Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “Invisible Killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. 

The Mill City Rural Fire Department wants homeowners to make sure their applicances are in good condition, and to have a working carbon monoxide alarm in every home with a fuel-burning appliance.

More than 150 people in the U.S. die every year from accidental, non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products. These include generators, faulty, improperly used or incorrectly vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces. 

Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. 

The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are like the flu –but without the fever. They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. 

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, loss of consciousness and ultimately death.

Tips for eliminating carbon monoxide from a home

• Have every appliance that burns gas, wood, or kerosene inspected. This includes furnaces, ovens and stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and space heaters. Be sure they are operating correctly and that flues, chimneys, and vents are clean and in good repair.

• Don’t use gasoline-powered tools or engines indoors.

• Make sure exhaust fumes from generators cannot enter your home.

• Never leave a car running in an attached garage – even if the garage door is open.

• Clear snow from around vents and pipes such as clothes dryer vents and car exhaust pipes.

• Do not try to heat your home with a gas oven.

• Never burn charcoal and never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.

Call for help if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. If someone is unconscious, not breathing, or having seizures, call 911 immediately.

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