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Posted on: March 30, 2022

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide detector

SPEARFISH, SD – The Spearfish Fire Department has responded to several calls for service involving carbon monoxide recently and encourages everyone to take preventative measures to protect themselves by installing carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

“We see an uptick in calls involving carbon monoxide during colder weather,” Fire Chief Travis Ladson said, explaining gas-powered heat sources are often the culprits behind carbon monoxide leaks. Furnaces, water heaters, chimneys, woodstoves, gas- and oil-fueled space heaters, blocked furnace or dryer vents, vehicles left running in garages, etc., can be sources of carbon monoxide. “If your carbon monoxide detector is sounding continuously, if you are feeling light-headed or nauseous without any other explanation, if you smell an odor like exhaust – please get everyone in the home outside to fresh air immediately and call 911.”

Fire Chief Ladson explained that in addition to having smoke detectors that are regularly tested and maintained, residents should install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of livable space in their home. People should be familiar with their detector’s alarm signal (generally a continuous beeping) versus the low battery alert. These signals will vary by brand/model of detector and are specified on the product details/directors.   

“Carbon monoxide is known as the invisible killer because you can’t see, smell, or taste it,” Fire Chief Ladson said. “Protect your loved ones by installing detectors in your home so you will know if you ever have a leak.”

A person can be poisoned by a small amount of carbon monoxide over a longer period or a larger amount of carbon monoxide over a shorter time. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like symptoms such as: Headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and fainting. Carbon monoxide exposure at higher levels can cause unconsciousness and death.

It is recommended to have appliances inspected by a qualified service technician yearly, before the heating season; have chimneys cleaned annually by a licensed professional and checked for cracked/broken mortar; and clear snow away from furnace and dryer vents after snowstorms. Use generators or any gas-powered equipment (including gas or charcoal grills) outside, at least 20 feet away from doors, windows, and vents.

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