Residents should take some simple steps to protect against deadly accumulations of carbon monoxide as homes are sealed for the winter, according to an advisory issued by the Town of Oyster Bay.
Councilman Anthony Macagnone said in a statement that fossil fuel heat sources and a lack of ventilation is what makes the winter's start so particularly dangerous.
"Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and it can kill," Macagnone said. "This is the most dangerous time of year for carbon monoxide deaths because many furnaces and heaters arebeing turned on for the first time and houses are closed up as the cold weather settles in. It's now that blockedchimneys, defective heaters and other hazards can cause a deadly build-up of carbon monoxide."
The gas is produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas, oil, coal and wood used in common appliances including oil and gas burners, solid fuel appliances, wood stoves and fireplaces, gas water heaters, boilers and engines, Macagnone said.
He listed a few simple precautions:
- Check the flame color of gas appliances; the flame should be blue. If it is orange, the appliance should be checked by a professional.
- Make sure the house is adequately ventilated. Check air bricks and trickle vents. If appliances do not have enough air, carbon monoxide will build up.
- Do not to use stoves or ovens to heat homes.
- Cars, lawn mowers and snowblowers should never be left idling in a shed or garage, or any enclosed space, especially in an attached garage where fumes can find their way into a house.
- Purchase a carbon monoxide (CO) detector alarm, as required by New York State law.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.
“If you have any of these symptoms and believe they are being caused by CO exposure, call your fire department and then leave your house,” Macagnone said. “Do not open windows and doors for more ventilation or turn off any combustion appliances in your home. This will allow the fire department to get an accurate CO reading in your home. Seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms.”
Nearly 500 people die each year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and as many as 20,000 end up in hospital emergency rooms for exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reminders for the week:
- GAP resumes Tuesday
Mark your calendars:
Town Board Meeting
Where: Town Hall North
When: Tuesday, 10 a.m.