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Recognize the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
As temperatures fall, some customers may turn to fuel-burning heating sources to heat their homes. While the potential threat of carbon monoxide poisoning can happen year-round, increased awareness should be given to the potential for CO poisoning during the winter months.
Entergy encourages customers to know the signs of CO poisoning and take precautions to remain safe. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is found in fumes any time you burn fuel in appliances such as stoves, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges or furnaces. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.
Prevention is key to remaining safe. Below are some tips on how you can prevent CO poisoning in your home.
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
- Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build-up of CO inside your home.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
- Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.
If you think carbon monoxide is affecting you or your alarm sounds, move to fresh air -- either next to a window or open door, or outside. Make sure that everyone else in the house is also in the clear. If anyone has symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get emergency help immediately.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees.