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LFD Warns of Carbon Monoxide Dangers

The Livingston Fire Department wants residents to know about the "silent killer."

The Livingston Fire Department is warning residents to always be aware of the carbon monoxide levels in their house. 

Carbon monoxide is a lethal odorless, colorless gas that is often in the air as a result of an improperly vented furnaces, hot water heaters and generators powered by gasoline or kerosene.  According to a statement by the Livingston Fire Department, as the temperature drops, the chance of exposure to C.O. increases as residents attempt to keep warm by running the heating system more frequently, and finding alternate or supplemental heating sources.

Carbon monoxide can also be caused by warming up a car in an enclosed garage.  The exhaust fumes contain large amounts of carbon monoxide and the gas can leak into a home through door openings or cracks in the wall.

“Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous because there is no smoke or odor to give residents a warning that something is wrong,” said Christopher Mullin, Chief of the Livingston Fire Department.  “That is why we urge everyone to install detectors, and to change the batteries at least twice a year, if battery powered.  We recommend usually Daylight Saving Time as a reminder to check all alarms, and inspect fire extinguishers. Industry standards call for Carbon Monoxide Detectors to be replaced every five years and Smoke Detectors to be replaced every ten years.  In addition, we suggest that after a snow storm, residents check that vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and/or fireplace are cleared of piled-up snow to prevent blockage of this escaping deadly gas.”

If a homeowner has only one carbon monoxide detector in the residence, it is important that that detector be located within 10’ of the sleeping area.  If more than one detector is present, the additional detector can be located with 10’ of the utility room doors. Detectors in sleeping areas protect the occupants when they are sleeping (in a semi-conscious state) and not aware if they are experiencing any of symptoms of C.O. poisoning.

Carbon monoxide detectors are early warning systems that save lives, and should not be neglected. Mild exposure to carbon monoxide includes flu-like symptoms such as a headache, dizziness, nausea, light-headed, and very sleepy. Long term exposure is likely to cause disorientation, impaired cardiovascular functions, and eventually death.

“If your alarm activates and you DO NOT experience any on the mentioned symptoms this alarm may be a result of a faulty detector and you should notify Public Service Utility Company or the Fire Department and request to have your residence checked for C.O.,” Mullin said.

The most important thing that you can have in your home is a working carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors, as well as fire extinguishers. These systems are designed to provide early detection, and are essential for you and your family’s safety. They can save a life.

“If your alarm goes off, we advise that you to determine if you or any other occupants of the house have any of the symptoms listed and if so, get out of the house immediately and move to a well-ventilated area, and call the fire department,” said Mullin.

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