Properly Working Home Heating Devices and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives
November 1, 2019 – As temperatures continue to drop and Daylight Savings Time comes to an end this weekend, the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition and the Kane County Health Department want to remind residents to take action to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. We “fall back” an hour on November 3. When you turn back your clocks, it’s a good time to put new batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors.
This is the time of year where we start seeing more carbon monoxide poisonings. So, now is the time for Kane residents to make sure their heating sources and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.
On average, carbon monoxide poisoning causes about 200 deaths per year in the U.S, according to data from the Illinois Poison Center. Many people make trips to the ER for non-lethal carbon monoxide poisonings, too. These deaths and injuries are preventable when people are prepared.
To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. Homes and duplexes are required by Illinois to have detectors 15 feet from every sleeping room. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores for $20-50. Daylight Savings Time is a good time each year to replace the batteries in your detector and push the “Test” button to be sure it’s working properly. Replace your detector every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
- Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, and RVs.
- Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
- Never run a car in an enclosed space. Even with a door or window open, carbon monoxide levels can still build up to an unsafe level.
At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide include headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. If you think you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
Visit the Kane County Health Department website for more information about carbon monoxide poisoning: KaneHealth.com/Pages/Carbon-Monoxide.aspx.
COURTESY OF KANE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT