CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 400 Americans nationwide die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year.
January has the highest incidences of CO poisoning, according to the study by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“Prevention and education is working, we think more customers are taking proper care, but I will say we still get hundreds of calls a year due to Carbon Monoxide. Natural gas is safe and reliable but we need to make sure appliances are checked and operating properly,” said Torrence Hinton, Director of Operations, Peoples Gas.
CO is a colorless, odorless toxic gas that can be produced when heating systems or appliances are not working properly.
“Typical because the gas appliance isn’t operating. Most appliances need to be vented so they can escape the house,” Hinton said.
Technician PJ Garcia said it’s key to change your furnace filter once a month, make sure your drier is venting outside the home, never use a gas oven to heat your home and most importantly, check your flames. They should be blue, yellow means trouble.
“Yellow means insufficient air, which mean it’ll produce CO, carbon monoxide,” Garcia said.
Illinois law requires every home and apartment to have a CO alarm within 15 feet of sleeping areas, but owners of older homes need to install their own detectors.
“It’s imperative every home owner, apartment dweller have a CO detector,” Hinton said. “Some come in smoke/CO detector combos. Change the batteries on your alarms, make sure their working. It’s a matter of life and death.”
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open the windows, get out of the house and call 911. Symptoms include a flu like illness, dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, nausea or vomiting.