Carbon monoxide safety tips for winter months

It’s undeniable – winter is coming. With bitter temperatures and snow quickly approaching, so are some unseen dangers.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating; but if you’re not careful; it can be deadly.

Between the months of November and February, emergency room visits and hospitalizations from carbon monoxide poisoning reaches its peak. This is due to using fuel burning heat sources more frequently.

Kevin Newton is a retired industrial arts teacher. Since retirement, he works part time at Ace Hardware. He’s an expert in smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detectors.

“You get real dizzy, real light headed,” Newton said.

High exposure to carbon monoxide can kill you.

“Everybody says it’s not gonna happen to me,” Newton said. “Well guess what, it can happen to anybody.”

Make sure you have working alarms.

“You know whats the cost of a human life. You wanna pay 60 bucks and make sure that it doesn’t happen,” Newton said.

And check them annually – Minnesota law requires an alarm within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping.

“I would recommend you and one outside your utility room where your furnace and your water heaters at, I would recommend you have one in your garage, and perhaps one in your main living area,” Newton said. “That would be a minimum. Like I said, what price is a life.”

Have a back up plan.

“If the power goes out you have to have a generator going,” Newton said.

But keep that generator at a safe distance – at least 20 feet away from the home.

And this time of year, be cautious of snow.

“In the winter time make sure your exhausts are cleared,” Newton said. “Along the side of your house take a snow shovel and clean it out.”

Carbon Monoxide poisoning symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, confusion, and tiredness.
If you suspect CO poisoning, seek medical attention immediately.

Minnesota Department of Health also suggests to have a furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually, to never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill inside your home or garage, as well as never run a car in an enclosed space.

Winter Hazard Awareness Week is November 5th through 9th.

Beret Leone

Beret Leone

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