Fire Department, CenterPoint Energy provide safety tips to avoid carbon monoxide exposure

Carbon monoxide (CO) incidents increase during the winter months and CO is often called the silent killer.  CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas and when inhaled, it enters the blood stream preventing proper absorption of oxygen, which can lead to illness and even death. 

According to the Minnesota Poison Control Center, there are thousands of deaths each year as a result of carbon monoxide, making it the leading cause of death due to poisoning. Additionally, the Minneapolis Fire Department response to non-fire related CO incidents increases by 10 percent during the winter.

The Minneapolis Fire Department together with CenterPoint Energy would like to remind folks of important safety tips about how to recognize the symptoms of and avoid CO exposure:

Carbon monoxide is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil or methane don’t burn completely. Home heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel inadequately can be sources of carbon monoxide.

If you suspect CO exposure, leave the area immediately taking your pets with you and tell others to do the same. Once you are safely away from the area, call 911 to report the suspected CO incident.

Treatment for CO exposure is fresh air or oxygen. Severe exposure requires medical attention. Do not return to your home or building until the source of the problem is discovered and corrected.  

For more information about natural gas safety, visit www.centerpointenergy.com/besafe or call 612-372-4727 or 1-800-245-2377

Published Dec 12, 2012