Officials encourage carbon monoxide safety awareness as cold weather approaches
BATON ROUGE - This hurricane season, Louisiana residents heard a lot about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the use of portable generators during power outages. But the State Fire Marshal's Office (SFM) issued a Thursday morning notice regarding carbon monoxide awareness in relation to heating one's home.
According to the SFM, Carbon monoxide, or CO, is often referred to as “the invisible killer.” It's an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane are actively burning.
In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.
Some CO hazards are:
-Clogged exhaust pipes for dryers, furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces
-Running a vehicle inside of an enclosed garage, even if the garage door is open
-Operating a portable generator in an enclosed space or near a window, door or vent
When it comes to avoiding CO hazards associated with fuel-burning, heating appliances, the SFM recommends that homeowners have all such equipment, including chimneys, inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in. Officials also warn that when using a fireplace, homeowners should make sure the flue is open for adequate ventilation.
They also say it's a bad idea to use an oven to heat one's home.
The SFM says, "If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide monitor for your home, it is strongly advised to get one. Getting a combination carbon monoxide monitor and smoke alarm is even better."
Those who own a CO alarm are encouraged to follow the recommendations below for best placement locations around their home:
-Have at least one alarm installed on every level of the home with fuel burning appliances
-Ideally, you’ll want an alarm located outside of each sleeping area
-Place alarms 5-20 feet from sources of CO like furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces.
-Make sure the alarm is free of obstructions and adverse environmental conditions that can occur near windows or doors
-Follow manufacturer’s instructions on additional placement and mounting height recommendations
Click here for more information from the SFM.
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