Anthony Stowers, Fire Chief, EFO/CFO
1 Summer St.
Maynard, MA 01754
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Maynard Fire Department Offers Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
MAYNARD – As the cold weather moves in and residents begin gearing up for winter, Chief Anthony Stowers and the Maynard Fire Department would like to remind residents to consider these carbon monoxide safety tips.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely dangerous, especially in the winter months” Chief Stowers said. “I am urging residents to review the information and safety tips provided, and take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of everyone in their homes.”
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas produced whenever any fuel is burned, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances.
CO can be especially dangerous during the winter months, as snow can create drifts that block furnace and dryer exhaust vents, and car tailpipes, forcing CO gas to back-up into homes or vehicles.
Sources of CO include:
- Furnaces and water heaters
- Chimneys and woodstoves
- Gas and oil fueled space heaters
- Blocked furnace and dryer vents
- Car tailpipes blocked by snow
- Running vehicles
- Barbeque grills and camping stoves
- Gas ovens used for heat
- Gas tools such as snow removal and yard equipment
Exposure to carbon monoxide can produce flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, fainting, unconsciousness, and in serious cases can be fatal. If you suspect CO exposure, get out of the house to get fresh air, and call the fire department from outside or a neighbor’s house. If you have symptoms of CO exposure, seek medical attention immediately.
Chief Stowers suggests residents follow these safety procedures outlined by Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Before the heating season every year, have a qualified service technician inspect your appliances.
- Check vent pipes, flues and chimneys for leaks or blockages.
- Always make sure furnace and dryer exhaust vents are clear of snow.
- Use care when shoveling out vehicles, and be sure the tail pipe and undercarriage are free of snow before turning on the engine.
- Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage, even if the door is open. Fumes will quickly build up inside the home.
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
- Do not use a gas oven to heat your home.
- Never use gasoline-powered engines (generators, chain saws, blowers, weed trimmers, mowers, or snow blowers) indoors or near doors or windows.
- Place generators outdoors facing away from doors, windows and vents.
- Never use a generator inside a house, basement, crawl space, or garage, even if the garage door is open.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, except unfinished basements or attics. Do not place a CO alarm in a garage, furnace room, or near the stove or fireplace.
- Locate CO alarms near bedrooms so family members will awaken at night. Alarms should be kept away from open windows or doors, excessively hot, cold or damp areas and “dead-air spaces” such as corners of rooms and peaks of ceilings.
To ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are functioning properly, they should be replaced every 5-7 years according to directions. After a prolonged power outage, back-up batteries should be checked.