Carbon monoxide warning issued by fire chiefs

March 02, 1995

The Carroll County Fire Chiefs Association has issued information on carbon monoxide (CO) and the use of CO detectors in the home. Detectors are available in many hardware and convenience stores.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas produced by incomplete combustion. It kills thousands of people each year and injures many more.

The gas is generated by fuel-burning appliances such as stoves, space heaters, water heaters, furnaces and fireplaces. When these appliances malfunction or are not properly ventilated, carbon monoxide levels can rise.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

* Mild exposure: headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, often described as flu-like symptoms.

* Medium exposure: throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate.

* Extreme exposure: unconsciousness, convulsions, heart and lung failure, brain damage, death. In many cases of extreme exposure, the victims cannot function well enough to leave a building.

Carbon monoxide detectors look and operate like smoke detectors, sounding an alarm as CO levels rise in the home. The alarm signal is a warning of a dangerous situation that requires immediate attention.

When a carbon monoxide detector alarm sounds, residents should leave their home and call 911. The fire department can detect CO with measuring devices. Doors and windows should be left closed to ensure detection of the problem area.

Fire officials urge homeowners to read all information included with a carbon monoxide detector.

Information: Steve Wantz, 848-8322.

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