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Falcon fire department warns of carbon monoxide danger

Submitted by Falcon Fire Protection DistrictNow that winter weather is here, the Falcon Fire Protection District wants the public to understand the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Every year, thousands of lives are lost in the United States because of high CO levels in homes. CO poisoning also leads to more than 50,000 emergency room visits nationwide.CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and highly toxic gas and is referred to as a “silent killer.” CO can be created whenever a fuel such as wood, natural gas, petroleum products or charcoal is burned. According to the Mayo Clinic Web site,, CO poisoning is the leading poison-related cause of death in the United States.CO poisoning, which occurs when CO replaces oxygen in your blood, often displays the same symptoms as the flu and is often mistaken for it. Symptoms include the following:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • rapid heart beat
  • blurry vision
  • vomiting
  • disorientation
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma
  • cardiac arrest
  • seizures
  • respiratory failure
According to the Carbon Monoxide Safety Association, there also have been reports of health problems from low level, ongoing CO exposure and fetal brain cell damage when pregnant mothers experience chronic, low level exposure. People with health problems such as heart and lung disease, the elderly, small children and pregnant women are the most susceptible to CO poisoning.”The best way to avoid CO poisoning is for people to understand how carbon monoxide is produced and to recognize its symptoms,” said FFPD Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician Matt Seube.To help ensure CO safety, Seube suggests the following:
  • Never start a vehicle or leave a running vehicle in an enclosed space.
  • Use a non-electric space heater only in a well-ventilated area.
  • Always have at least one properly functioning CO detector in the home at all times.
  • Have all applicable appliances inspected once a year for defects or malfunctions.
“We want all our citizens to know that if their CO detector alarm sounds or they suspect any kind of CO poisoning, they need to leave their home immediately and call 911,” Seube said. “We will respond and inspect the property to make sure that it is safe to re-enter. CO detectors are not fool proof so it is always better to be safe than sorry.”As of July 1, 2009, Colorado law requires that all new or sold residential properties must have at least one CO detector on each floor of the property. Rental units are required to add the alarms when tenants change. “The best place to install detectors is away from the gas appliances and six to 12 inches from the ceilings because CO gas rises,” Seube said.”Many people don’t realize how easily they can be exposed to carbon monoxide. We want everyone to understand the possible sources of CO and the symptoms of CO poisoning. We also strongly encourage everyone to install CO detectors in their homes.”The FFPD responds to 30-40 carbon monoxide-related calls each year.If you suspect CO poisoning, leave your home immediately and get into fresh air. If possible, open doors and windows on your way out of your home. “And by all means, call 911 as soon as possible,” Seube said. “We are here for your safety and protection.”

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