Officials Warn About Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide

With the winter heating season here, National Fuel officials are reminding customers to protect their families from carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and potentially dangerous gas produced when fuel (heating oil, propane, kerosene, charcoal, gasoline, wood or natural gas) is burned without enough air for complete combustion. If inhaled in large quantities for a prolonged time period, carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death.

Learning to identify the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is the first step toward protecting families. Symptoms include: fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness, overall paleness, nausea, and cherry red lips and/or ears. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should immediately open windows and doors to ventilate the home, then move outside and call 911 or the fire department.

Other tips include:

Have the chimney, appliances and heating equipment inspected and tested by a qualified professional every year.

Install ventless heaters in accordance with manufacturer specifications, and never use them as a primary heat source.

Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in the home. Do not rely on carbon monoxide detectors as a substitute for maintaining appliances, heating equipment or chimneys. Those who install a carbon monoxide detector should use it as an additional preventative measure.

Clear snow and ice from exhaust vents and intake air vents for gas appliances to prevent carbon monoxide from accumulating in a home.

Never use a gas oven or stovetop for heating a home.

Never run a gasoline engine, such as a gasoline generator, or an automobile in an enclosed space.

Never use a portable charcoal or propane grill indoors.