Fire Chief issues reminder about “silent killer”

FLINT TWP. — As colder weather arrived and the need for warmth increased, Fire Chief Thomas Stadler issued a public warning on November 20 about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Since then, firefighters have responded to five carbon monoxide incidents – three of them were detector issues but two were actually elevated levels of the dangerous, invisible, odorless gas., Chief Stadler reported last week.

Leaving a car running in an attached garage is a no-no, he said, noting that it risks the deadly fumes entering the home. He also advised that all residents who do not have a carbon monoxide detector in the home should get one.

Care also should be taken when using heating elements in hunting blinds and ice shanties.

Reading from a tri-color brochure available at the fire department, Stadler provided some details about carbon monoxide and tips on how to prevent accidental poisoning.

CO gas comes from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, methane, propane, coal and wood, he said.

CO is not detectable by smell, sight or other senses but can cause illness or death. When inhaled, CO replaces oxygen in the bloodstream which minimally can cause flulike symptoms such as headache, nausea and dizziness or at worst lead to a coma or death.

Common sources of exposure include vehicle emissions, home heating equipment and cooking stoves.

Safety and prevention tips include:

* Never warm vehicles inside a garage and also shutting off the motor as soon as a car is parked inside of the garage

* Have vehicle and all fuel-burning equipment checked once a year for CO leakage.

* When using a fireplace, be sure to open the flue and make sure it is safely vented.

* Always refuel a kerosene heater outside after it has cooled off.

* Never use a gas barbecue grill inside the garage – not even with the garage door up.

* When camping, use only battery powered heaters and lights in tents, trailers or motor homes. Never use fuel burning appliances inside.

Request a full Carbon Monoxide brochure or advice from the fire department at (810) 732-4413.

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