Columbus Fire and Rescue is warning families to protect themselves

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – According to the CDC, every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

As the temperatures get cooler, home fires due to heaters are often a concern; however, there is a more silent killer and Captain Shannon Murphy from Columbus Fire and Rescue is warning families to protect themselves.

“Carbon Monoxide in the home can be caused by multiple things, mostly being caused by natural gas that people use, propane, kerosene, and them being not vented properly in your homes, ” Murphy said.

It’s also invisible and odorless, so the first indication that you have a dangerous concentration or a leak can be symptoms of exposure. That’s why it’s good to invest in some simple technology.

“Those carbon monoxide detectors only go off when it reaches a certain part per million in your home, those parts per million if they’re low level it could possibly take hours before it to accumulate and you will feel things like nausea, dizziness, and headache and if you fall asleep in that stuff, happens over the course of a long night five to eight hours, ten to twelve hours and depending how long you sleep that can actually cause death if not taking care of,” Murphy said.

And while some may think it’s practical to use a gas oven to help heat the house, the professionals said it’s not a good idea.

“If it is a gas stove, like I said, if they are not vented properly, you have the vent a hood above here, but if somebody is not turning that on and it’s wide open, it may not be able to extract enough of that carbon monoxide that it could build up in your home over time.”

And before you cuddle in front of that open fire.

“It needs to be vented properly, obviously, and the flue needs to be open, but if the chimney is old, you could possibly have cracks and stuff in it, and that carbon monoxide smoke can actually build up in your attic space and get inside your home, so getting a chimney inspector to check your chimney is something that needs to be done annually before you use it,” Murphy said.

And just in case you did not know.

“In grounds of running a car inside a closed garage or a small combustible engine like a generator, lawn more or chainsaw, anything gives off that carbon monoxide. If you are in an enclosed area it could build up pretty fast and make you sick fast so you always when running those types of things it needs to be in a well-ventilated atmosphere,” Murphy said.

Captain Murphy says you should change your carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year.

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