Silent killer can be stopped

Published 5:38 am Thursday, June 16, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - It's colorless and odorless, and therefore homeowners don't know there is a problem until it's too late.
Firefighters from the Howard Township Fire Department and SMCAS Ambulance service responded to a possible carbon monoxide poisoning at a home on Almungus Drive on Wednesday morning.
No excess amounts of carbon monoxide found, according to Ron Fazi, Howard Township Fire Chief., but he said, "it is better to call and be sure."
Carbon monoxide can cause poisoning in a matter of minutes and is responsible for more deaths than any other single poison.
Carbon monoxide is produced wherever fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. It is normal for fuel-burning appliances to produce a small amount of carbon monoxide when being used, but when used improperly, or when the units aren't functioning correctly, is when problems occur.
One way to combat carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. They can be purchased at any home improvement store.
Lamb added with the digital readouts the parts per million range of carbon monoxide can be quickly determined. Small amounts in the one to five parts per million can normally be found in a residence.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include, shortness of breath, mild nausea, mild headaches, dizziness and light-headedness or flu-like symptoms. Infants, elderly people and those who suffer from anaemia, respiratory or heart disease are more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. If one is exposed to too much carbon monoxide, death may occur.
If one fears carbon monoxide poisoning has occurred they should get the victim into fresh air immediately. If the victims cannot be taken out of the home, then open all the windows and doors. Also any combustion appliances should be turned off. In serious cases medical attention should be sought.
Lamb added that residents can reduce their chances of experiencing a carbon monoxide emergency by installing a detector, and having an annual furnace inspection by a certified firm, moving vehicles out of garages when warming them up and having chimneys inspected to assure that the flue is not plugged.
Niles residents can call the fire prevention bureau with any questions at 683-2374.