(BEDFORD) - Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, toxic gas that kills.
The Bedford Fire Department has a new multi-gas detector that can detect the invisible killer. It also detects oxygen levels, methane and natural gases.
"We have been on several calls this year checking for carbon monoxide, at least a couple a week," Wagner says. "People will call saying they don't feel well that and think they have the flu but sometimes it is not the flu but it's carbon monoxide poisoning."
The poisonous gas has no visible color, taste, or odor. When you breathe it in, it makes you feel nauseous, tired and dizzy, and you will develop a headache - like when you have the flu, Wagner says.
Firefighters will come to your home free of charge to check for the deadly fumes. Residents just need to call the fire department at 275-4544 and make an appointment, but if it is an emergency dial 911.
"Heating equipment is the leading cause of CO incidents. It can also come from hot water heaters, gas stoves, gas dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, and from cars, lawn mowers, snow blowers or generators running inside the garage - even with the door open," Wagner says. "A large number of CO incidents take place between the months of November and February and between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. This is the time when most heating equipment is being used at home. If there is more than 6 parts per million then we have a problem."
The U.S. Fire Administration recommends the following:
* Install carbon monoxide detectors and Test CO alarms at least once a month.
* Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.
* Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.
* Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. The CO gas might kill people and pets.
* When purchasing new heating and cooking equipment, select products tested and labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.
* Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
* If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials.
* Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
* Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
* Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
If Your CO Alarm Sounds
* Immediately move to a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window or door). Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window). Remain at a fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
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