NORMAL — The Normal Fire Department is issuing a reminder to make sure you have working carbon-monoxide detectors in your home, since carbon monoxide can be emitted from furnaces.
The problem is worsened during winter months when windows are closed.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas that can cause death. Lower levels of CO poisoning can cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
“It’s important, especially this time of the year when everyone has their windows and doors closed up tight, that you have a working CO alarm in your home, and test it on a monthly basis, just as you should with your smoke alarms” said Matt Swaney, a department spokesman. “Last year, we had several cases where the CO alarm detected dangerous conditions inside a dwelling. With carbon monoxide, early detection is key to prevent illness or even death. Without a working CO detector, these instances could have had a tragic outcome.”
CO detectors look similar to smoke detectors and often are sold in the same area of the store. Safety professionals suggest routinely changing batteries in both types of detectors during the twice-yearly time change.
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Common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning include faulty furnaces, water heaters, wood-burning stoves, vehicle exhaust entering homes, electrical generators, and propane- or natural gas-fueled heaters and stoves.
Effective Jan. 1, 2007, every Illinois home with fuel-fired appliances is required to have at least one carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
•To avoid a problem, have gas appliances checked periodically for proper operation and venting and make sure flues, chimneys and vents are clear of debris.
•Install and regularly check CO monitors.
•Do not use un-vented space heaters, gas stoves, charcoal grills or Sterno-type fuels as sources of heat. Do not cook on charcoal grills indoors.
•Do not run the car or other gasoline-powered engines in a garage, even with the doors open.