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Hutchinson Volunteer
Fire Department

Hutchinson, Minnesota
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Carbon Monoxide awareness is essential at this time of the year. Carbon Monoxide is produced when fuel is not burned completely in a furnace, fireplace, or hot water heater. Homes with inefficient heating systems are at risk for increased levels of carbon monoxide. Newer homes are prone to more rapid CO buildup because they are built to higher standards of energy efficiency, resulting in less fresh air exchange.

Your first line of protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a CO detector. Human senses can't detect carbon monoxide because it is a colorless, odorless gas. Carbon Monoxide detectors can be purchased anywhere smoke detectors are sold. Follow the manufacturers instructions carefully when installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When I recently needed to replace smoke detectors (they were more than 10 years old) I opted for a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector. If you are a penny pincher, avoid the temptation to save money in this area. The extra expense of a high quality detector can't match the value of a life.

Annual servicing of heating systems and regular furnace filter maintenance reduces the potential for carbon monoxide buildup as well. With the current increase in heating costs this winter, it may be tempting to use wood heat. Solid fuel stoves also produce carbon monoxide. Proper venting for the stove is crucial, as well as using only recommended fuels. If you use wood as your primary heat source make sure the chimney flu is cleaned regularly, and that you burn only seasoned dry wood.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, sluggishness and and an overall dull feeling. The effects of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can be cumulative as well. If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds call 911 from a different location. A fire officer will be dispatched to your home with a carbon monoxide detector. Do not reenter the home until advised that it is safe to do so.

Learn Not To Burn

Last updated on January 11, 2001


© Copyright 2000 Hutchinson Fire Department © Copyright 2000 Hutchinson Fire Department