Did you know that November, December, January and February are top months for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths in the United States?
These are the primary months when consumers crank up their furnaces and portable heaters to stay warm. Nearly two-thirds of non-fire related CO deaths take place in those four cold weather months.
Portable gas generators are also used in the cold months because of power outages, due to snow and ice storms.
CPSC has joined with the National Fire Protection Association this year to warn consumers and firefighters about CO, which kills more than 400 people every year, according to the CDC. CO is called the invisible killer because you cannot see or smell it.
Here is what you can do to prevent CO from hurting your family:
- Remove snow and ice accumulation that build up around heck air intake and exhaust vents.
- Before using your chimney or turning on the furnace, get chimneys and fuel-burning appliances checked by a professional who services those items to make sure they are working correctly and vented to the outside properly.
- Get a CO alarm. Better yet, install one on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
- If you already have CO alarms, make sure they are working properly. Have you changed the batteries this year? If not, replace the batteries.
- Replace CO alarms every 5 years or as recommended by the manufacturer. Newer CO alarms have the end of life indicators that beep when the alarm is at the end of its working life and needs to be replaced.
- Never use a portable generator inside your house, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed or in a semi-enclosed space, such as a porch close to the house. Generators should be at least 20 feet away from the house when in use.
- Freezing weather and snow in the winter are a fact of life. Don’t let CO take yours.
The above is an excerpt from “Protect Your Family from Deadly Carbon Monoxide This Winter. ” For more information please visit https://onsafety.cpsc.gov/.