Carbon monoxide safety can help save a life

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carbon monoxide, often called “CO” is sometimes referred to as the “invisible killer” because it is an odorless, colorless gas that can be difficult to detect unless a special CO detector is used.

Just late last month, four people in nearby Granger, Indiana, were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities said the home contained at least one CO detector, but the detector was not functioning.

Chief Larry Lamb, of the Niles Fire Department, said his department responded to eight CO related calls in 2015. Fortunately, Lamb said he does not know of a fatal CO poisoning case in city limits during the many years he has been in the department.

That doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is most common in the colder months because a malfunctioning furnace is one of the most likely causes. CO build up can also occur while warming a vehicle inside a garage.

We encourage everyone to follow the these carbon monoxide safety tips from the National Fire Protection Agency:

• CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.

• Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• If the carbon monxide alarm sounds, immediately move everyone to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from a fresh air location.

• If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.

• During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.

• A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

• Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.

• Carbon monxide enters the body through breathing. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.