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Winter Storm Season – A Good Time to Think About Carbon Monoxide Hazards

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As we move into the colder winter months, here in North Carolina it’s time to think about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely poisonous and can kill within minutes. In the US each year, nearly 500 people die from CO poisoning. As many as 20,000 visit emergency rooms for CO exposure, mostly from poorly-maintained heating systems or gas stoves and gas-powered generators used for heat or power during storms.

Here in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, CO poisoning is particularly a problem in the winter. The culprit is the ice storms we seem to get every year. Often homes will lose power for days while crews work to clear lines. People will turn to generators and kerosene heaters to stay warm.

Of course, CO poisioning can happen at other times of the year as well. I’ve seen cases where defective or poorly maintained heaters, stoves and other appliances created CO hazards.

Here is a helpul and informative video from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with more information about CO poisoning and ways to protect yourself and your family.