Officials Urge Carbon Monoxide Safety

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Many Region residents may have turned on the furnace early this Fall, in the early-season cold snap, and with the arrival of cooler temps and the start of home-heating season comes a reminder of the dangers of carbon monoxide. John Erickson, Senior Public Information Officer with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Indiana Fire Marshal's office, says carbon monoxide is the number-one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States.
In addition to a smoke alarm, the fire marshal's office recommends having a carbon monoxide detector at home. Northern Indiana Public Service Company is also reminding customers of the danger, noting carbon monoxide is a by-product of the combustion of fuels such as coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas and fuel oil. It can be emitted by furnaces, space heaters, stoves, fireplaces, water heaters and automobile exhaust, and can accumulate in enclosed spaces.
Fact sheet from

Information from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Indiana Fire Marshal's Office:

In addition to a smoke alarm, Indiana Fire Marshal Jim Greeson also recommends having a carbon monoxide detector at home if any types of fuel (kerosene, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) are used for heating or cooking.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and nonirritating gas created when these fuels burn incompletely. It is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States and can cause similar symptoms to the common cold or flu, such as headaches, nausea and dizziness.
“The dangers of carbon monoxide exposure depend on a number of factors, including a person’s health and activity level,” said Greeson. “Small children, pregnant women, and those with health conditions can be severely affected by smaller amounts of carbon monoxide than healthy adults.”
Hoosiers should follow these recommendations for carbon monoxide detectors:
  • Install in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month, replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrive.
  • Some manufacturers sell combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is properly ventilated to the outside. Generators should never be operated indoors, that includes attached garages. They should be used outside away from windows and doors.
For more information about safely using heating equipment, visit  .
Additional Information from NIPSCO:
“Knowing the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and precautions to take will help ensure the safety of your home and everyone in it,” said NIPSCO’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Finissi. “Every home should have a working carbon monoxide detector and have appliances checked every year to make sure they are operating safely.”
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are flu-like, including headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. At high levels, it can cause loss of consciousness and death.
If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, you should get fresh air immediately and call 911.
Information from NIPSCO to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
·        Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home, making sure it’s clear of furniture or draperies. Test the battery regularly.
·        Have a qualified technician inspect all your fuel-burning equipment every year to make sure they are operating correctly.
·        Do not use ovens, gas ranges or grills to heat your home.
·        Never use a generator inside your home, basement, garage or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas.
·        Never leave a car or lawn mower engine running in a shed or garage, or in any enclosed space.
For more important safety tips, visit


Laura-WXRD Scott-WXRD Brent-WXRD
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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