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Carbon Monoxide Safety - Ocean Pines
Saturday, November 2, 2013

Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. The Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department wants to remind everyone of the dangers associated with Carbon Monoxide and what they can do to help protect themselves and their families. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Facts & figures •The dangers of CO exposure depend on a number of variables, including the victim's health and activity level. Infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their body's ability to use oxygen (i.e. emphysema, asthma, heart disease) can be more severely affected by lower concentrations of CO than healthy adults would be. •A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time. •In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found, or an average of nine such calls per hour. The number of incidents increased 96 percent from 40,900 incidents reported in 2003. This increase is most likely due to the increased use of CO detectors, which alert people to the presence of CO. Safety Tips •CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area, every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. •Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height. •Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. •If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department. •If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrive. •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. •Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in. •When using a fireplace, open the flue for adequate ventilation. •Never use your oven to heat your home. Carbon Monoxide alarms, as well as smoke alarms, can be purchased at a variety of stores, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and most any hardware store, for a relatively low cost. Remember to test CO alarms at least once a month along with your smoke alarms; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have any questions regarding this topic, contact the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department at 410-641-8272.

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