News Public Safety

January is the Deadliest Month for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

image of carbon monoxide alarm

While Missouri does require newly constructed properties where a carbon monoxide hazard may exist to be equipped with an approved and operational carbon monoxide alarm within ten feet of each room used for sleeping purposes, CO still poses a deadly hazard to families across the state each year. Nearly 300 people die each year as a result of Carbon Monoxide poisoning across the country.

Prepare for cold January temperatures by checking your Carbon Monoxide detectors and changing them if necessary. It is recommended to test detectors monthly. Cold temperatures increase the use of appliances that may produce carbon monoxide such as heating systems and fireplaces. It is vital to have the items serviced yearly to make sure that they are in good working condition.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may also be masked due to cold temperatures, leading many people to believe that they are simply coming down with a cold, unaware of the danger in their home.

Prevent CO Poisoning

  • Don’t heat your home with a gas oven
  • Don’t warm your car inside an attached garage – even if the door is open
  • Don’t burn anything in an unvented stove or fireplace – have any chimneys inspected before using
  • Don’t use a generator, grill, or camp stove inside your home, in your garage, or outside near a window
  • Have your water heater, heating system, and any other gas or oil-burning appliance inspected yearly before use
  • Install CO detectors on every level of your home – since CO is heavier than other gases, install carbon monoxide detectors low to the ground

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

  • Dull Headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

What Should I do if I think I have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

If you think you are being exposed to carbon monoxide in your home, take the following steps:

  1. Move to Fresh Air – Immediately exit the home and get to fresh air
  2. Call 911 – It could be deadly to reenter your home and attempt to turn off the source of carbon monoxide. Call emergency services immediately.

Death by Carbon Monoxide in Vehicle

In February 2019, the Greene County medical examiner confirmed that two Springfield residents died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Austin Holt, 21, and Bethany Weems, 26, were found by police inside the car at the Walmart Supercenter on Campbell. It is believed that the two were taking their break, staying warm in the running vehicle. The carbon monoxide built up in the car and the two fell asleep and passed due to the poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide alarm” by Santeri Viinamäki is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International 

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