CO alarms necessary during winter months
With temperatures expected below the freezing mark causing furnaces to work overtime, Minnesota Energy Resources (MERC) wants to alert customers about the importance of having Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors, as required by law, in their homes and apartments.
"It is vital that residents have working CO detectors in their homes and ensure that their heating equipment is in top operating condition by having them inspected on a regular basis. An improperly adjusted furnace or boiler can create CO and blocked or inadequate venting can cause the CO to accumulate indoors," said Ann Carlon, senior external relations manager.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there are approximately 2,100 unintentional deaths from carbon monoxide every year in the United States and the use of CO alarms could potentially prevent many of these fatalities.
In addition, more than 10,000 CO injuries occur annually from this colorless, odorless and tasteless poison.
Prolonged exposure to CO fumes can lead to unconsciousness and even death. Early warning signs include headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting. Those who encounter these danger signs or if their CO detector goes off, should evacuate the premises and call 911 from another location.
Install CO detectors/alarms within 15 feet of each sleeping area. Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, wood and coal stoves, space or portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.