Town of North Andover
Department of Public Health
Brian LaGrasse, Director of Public Health
120 Main Street
North Andover, MA 01845
Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
North Andover Public Health Department Shares Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
NORTH ANDOVER – With temperatures expected to remain below freezing for the next several days, the North Andover Public Health Department is reminding residents to follow important carbon monoxide safety tips.
Known also as the “invisible killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and poisonous gas produced whenever any fuel is burned, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal. Other sources of CO include furnaces and water heaters, chimneys, wood stoves, grills, camping stoves, gas ovens and gas snow removal or yard equipment machines.
“Taking steps to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely important, especially when temperatures are dropping so low and many residents rely on alternate heating sources,” said Brian LaGrasse, North Andover Director of Public Health. “Please consider these safety tips and remember to test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, at least 430 people die and approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room as a result of accidental CO poisoning in the United States.
Exposure to carbon monoxide can produce flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, fainting, unconsciousness, and in serious cases, can be fatal. If you suspect you have be exposed to CO, get out of the house and call the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbor’s house. If you experience any symptoms associated with CO poisoning, seek medical attention immediately.
The North Andover Health Department recommends that residents follow these safety procedures outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Before the heating season every year, have a qualified service technician inspect your appliances.
- Check vent pipes, flues and chimneys for leaks or blockages.
- Always make sure furnace and dryer exhaust vents are clear of snow.
- Use care when shoveling out vehicles, and be sure the tail pipe and undercarriage are free of snow before turning on the engine.
- Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage, even if the door is open. Fumes will quickly build up inside a home if the two spaces are connected.
- Never use a charcoal grill or gasoline-powered engines (generators, chain saws, blowers, weed trimmers, mowers, or snow blowers) indoors or near doors or windows.
- Place grills and generators outside, facing away from doors, windows and vents.
- Do not use a gas oven to heat your home.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home. Do not place a CO alarm in a garage or near the stove or fireplace. Always install an alarm according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Locate CO alarms near bedrooms so family members will wake up if the alarm goes off at night. Alarms should be kept away from open windows or doors, excessively hot, cold or damp areas and “dead-air spaces,” such as corners of rooms and peaks of ceilings.
- To ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are functioning properly, they should be replaced every five to seven years according to directions. After a prolonged power outage, back-up batteries should be checked.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, visit the Department of Fire Services website.