SDN Staff Reports
With the onset of cooler weather as the fall season progresses, Starkville Fire Department officials want to remind local resident who use gas-operated appliances to warm their homes to have carbon monoxide detectors installed and operating properly.
“Each year in America, unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning claims more than 400 lives and sends another 20,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment,” said SFD Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy.
McCurdy offered a few simple tips to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms.
• Make sure the alarm has been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Carbon monoxide alarms measure levels over time and are designed to sound an alarm before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms.
“It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean that carbon monoxide is not present,” McCurdy said.
• Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year.
“Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage,” McCurdy said.
• Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
• When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the integrity of the heating and cooking systems, as well as the sealed spaces between the garage and house.
“The presence of a carbon monoxide alarm in your home can save your life in the event of buildup,” McCurdy said.
The following is a basic procedure for residents to take should their carbon monoxide alarm activate, regardless of whether someone is ill.
If no one is feeling ill:
• Silence the alarm.
• Turn off all appliances and sources of
combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace).
• Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.
• Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup.
If illness is a factor:
• Evacuate all occupants immediately.
• Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms.
• Call your local emergency number and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.
• Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative.
• Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, call the McCurdy or Fire Marshal Stein McMullen at the Fire Department at 323-2962 or stop by Fire Station No. 1 on Lampkin Street during regular business hours Monday to Friday to pick up informational brochures.