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The original item was published from 10/31/2013 11:47:27 AM to 12/19/2013 10:01:45 AM.

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Posted on: October 31, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Carbon Monoxide — The Silent Killer

The winter months are here, and as the mercury begins to dip, many people don't realize how dangerous some practices can be. Those include using damaged or poorly maintained heating equipment; warming up cars in the garage; having a lack of ventilation in the home with windows closed for the winter; and using a generator when electricity is out due to a winter storm.

Often called a silent killer, Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless and colorless, an exposed person may not be aware they are being poisoned until it is too late. Unborn babies, infants and persons with heart disease are particularly at risk. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to flu symptoms, including headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.

The Manhattan Fire Department recommends everyone install CO alarms inside their homes to provide early warning of accumulating CO. Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, install CO alarms that are interconnected throughout the home, which means when one sounds they all sound.

CO alarms should be tested at least once a month. If your CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window or door) and call 9-1-1. Remain at the fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to assist you. If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries or other trouble indicators.

It is also important to have your heating equipment inspected by a qualified professional every year before cold weather sets in. Always remove a vehicle from the garage when it is running and never use a range or oven to heat the home. Portable generators should be operated in well-ventilated locations, outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings. Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris. Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows and vents, and never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.

The Manhattan Fire Department wants everyone to be warm and safe this winter. Make sure your home has carbon monoxide alarms. Please contact Rick Stillwagon, Fire Marshal, with any questions at 785-587-4504.

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