Officials warn of carbon monoxide poisoning as weather cools - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Officials warn of carbon monoxide poisoning as weather cools

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

A potentially deadly gas could be building up in your home this winter, but you won't be able to see it or smell it.  Local fire and health officials are expecting a higher number of calls dealing with Carbon Monoxide poisoning as the weather gets colder and more people.

In Illinois, it's the law to have a working C-O detector within 15 feet of where you sleep, and to have one on every occupied floor if you have gas powered appliances.  Quincy Firefighter Jerry Mast said this is a problem people need to take seriously.  He shared a story on the worst call he's ever seen; a family who almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

"They had a cracked heat exchange in their furnace. And the CO instead of going out the vent like it normally would, it was filling up the house.  The only reason they survived the ordeal the mother and two children was because the boyfriend at the time came home and found them unconscious in their home and was able to drag them outside and call us." 
Mast said the amount of Carbon Monoxide was so high, their measuring devices stopped working. While the leak in this story came from the furnace, Mast says it can come from anywhere, and you won't notice it without the right equipment. 
"You know CO's a colorless and odorless gas, so the only way of knowing you have CO in your home is to have a CO detector," Mast said.  
Symptoms from the Carbon Monoxide poisoning are similar to that of the flu or cold, so it's important to get help right away.  Adams County EMS Chief Paul Davis said he sees cases of carbon monoxide poisoning skyrocket every winter.
"We see a wide range of symptoms, from the nausea from the headaches and altered levels of consciousness all the way up into unconsciousness," Davis said. 
And Mast says if you start to feel the symptoms don't ignore it. Seek medical attention before it's be too late. 
"With enough CO in the home, you can go one to three minutes and death could occur," Mast said.

There are some things you can do to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.  Firefighters recommend getting your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.  Also, never run a generator inside your home or garage.

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