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As heaters kick on, Bend FD reminds of CO exposure risks


Winter heating season is just around the corner, and with the use of heating devices comes an increased danger of carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning, the Bend Fire Department reminded Wednesday.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas which is produced when there is incomplete combustion. It is odorless, invisible and can be fatal at high levels of exposure. It acts by displacing the oxygen in the blood, depriving vital organs of O2.

The symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, drowsiness, dizziness, and a loss of consciousness.

Continued high exposure is fatal.

You can prevent CO poisoning be maintaining your furnace or other heating device, never idle your car engine in the garage or near an open window, ensuring that your gas-fueled devices (furnace, water heater) are properly vented to the outside, and by installing and maintaining a CO monitoring device.

These devices are very much like a smoke alarm. Install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions and replace their batteries once a year. A CO alarm will last for 5-7 years.

If your alarm sounds, presume that it is working and move to a fresh air location (outdoors). Account for everyone in the house, call 9-1-1 and remain on scene until responders arrive.

Bend Fire responds to between five and nine CO alarm calls during the winter months, when furnaces are being used and everyone is more likely to be indoors.

Fortunately, not all these calls are critical, because the CO alarm alerts you well before the danger period. Keep your family safe from CO poisoning and exposure by installing a CO monitor on every level of your home.

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