By Ryan Prouty
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning injures an estimated 10,000 people each year, and claims more than 200 lives. CO is colorless and odorless. CO is produced when any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. When appliances are operating properly, CO levels are not hazardous, but when appliances are not working correctly, dangerous CO levels can result.
What are carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms?
Since CO is colorless and odorless, it is important to understand the symptoms associated with CO poisoning. Exposure to CO can cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
What can I do if I suspect carbon monoxide poisoning?
If you suspect CO poisoning, it is important to get fresh air immediately. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher if you are feeling any side effects of CO poisoning. The Williston Fire Department will then be dispatched to help mitigate the hazard.
What can I do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?
Vermont Division of Fire Safety recommends that every home have a CO detector. A CO detector should be centrally located outside of each bedroom. Each detector should be placed on the ceiling, wall or other location as specified in the installation instructions that accompany the unit.
Where can I get a carbon monoxide detector?
CO detectors are available for purchase at most hardware stores. The Williston Fire Department has free battery-operated CO detectors along with smoke detectors for Williston residents who cannot afford to purchase a detector. If you are interested in receiving a detector, or have any other questions regarding CO, please call the Fire Station at 878-5622.
Ryan Prouty is a Shift Officer with the Williston Fire Department.