Fred A. Mitchell Jr., Fire Chief
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Georgetown Fire Department Offers Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
GEORGETOWN – With the cold, winter weather in full effect, Chief Fred Mitchell Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department recommend that residents follow several carbon monoxide safety tips to prevent tragedies from occurring this season.
The odorless, colorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas is produced whenever any fuel is burned, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal.
“Don’t let yourself be vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning,” Chief Mitchell said. “This gas is known as the invisible killer, which is why it’s imperative that the community install and replace their carbon monoxide alarms and remember to clear snow from car exhaust pipes and home ventilation systems.”
Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. It can be especially dangerous during the winter months, as snow often creates drifts that cover furnace and dryer exhaust vents, and blocks car tailpipes, forcing CO back into homes or vehicles.
Other sources of CO include furnaces and water heaters, chimneys, wood stoves, grills, camping stoves, gas ovens and gas snow removal or yard equipment machines.
Exposure to carbon monoxide can produce flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, fainting, unconsciousness, and in serious cases, can be fatal. If you suspect you have be exposed to CO, get out of the house and call the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbor’s house. If you experience any symptoms associated with CO poisoning, seek medical attention immediately.
Chief Mitchell asks that residents follow these safety procedures outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Before the heating season every year, have a qualified service technician inspect your appliances.
- Check vent pipes, flues and chimneys for leaks or blockages.
- Always make sure furnace and dryer exhaust vents are clear of snow.
- Use care when shoveling out vehicles, and be sure the tail pipe and undercarriage are free of snow before turning on the engine.
- Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage, even if the door is open. Fumes will quickly build up inside a home if the two spaces are connected.
- Never use a charcoal grill, gasoline-powered engines (generators, chain saws, blowers, weed trimmers, mowers, or snow blowers) indoors or near doors or windows. Place grills and generators outside, facing away from doors, windows and vents.
- Do not use a gas oven to heat your home.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, except unfinished basements or attics. Do not place a CO alarm in a garage, furnace room, or near the stove or fireplace.
- Locate CO alarms near bedrooms so family members will wake up if the alarm goes off at night. Alarms should be kept away from open windows or doors, excessively hot, cold or damp areas and “dead-air spaces,” such as corners of rooms and peaks of ceilings.
- To ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are functioning properly, they should be replaced every five to seven years according to directions. After a prolonged power outage, back-up batteries should be checked.