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Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

carbon monoxideCarbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless and can be deadly. Small amounts of CO are in the air whenever fuel such as oil, natural gas, coal or wood is burned. These amounts are usually not harmful. However, if a heating system or chimney is not working properly, too much CO can build up in the air and cause CO poisoning.

While CO poisoning is a year-round threat, it is more common in cold weather when more fuel heating appliances are in use. We urge you to take extra steps this winter to avoid CO poisoning, and be aware its symptoms.

Symptoms of poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Symptoms can occur immediately or gradually after long-term exposure. It affects people of all ages, but infants and children are more susceptible than adults.

Protect Yourself:

  • Make sure all fuel-burning appliances operate and are maintained properly. Such appliances include gas and oil furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges, space heaters, and gas clothes dryers. Improperly vented fireplaces can also give off CO. Never use ovens or clothes dryers to heat the house.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors as back-up protection. CO alarms can provide an early warning to you before CO builds up to dangerous levels. Place a CO detector in every area of your house or business. If just one detector is installed, it should be placed near the sleeping rooms of the house. Regularly check the batteries.
  • Don’t allow vehicles, snow blowers or any gasoline powered engine to idle in a garage – especially if the garage is attached to your house or business. CO can drift inside and create a hazardous situation.
  • Be prepared. Program the emergency number of your natural gas provider in your phone. PSE&G’s emergency service line is 1-800-880-PSEG (7734).
  • If you think high levels of CO are in your home or business, go outside! If there is a medical emergency, such as someone falling unconscious, take the person outside to fresh air and call 911. Then call PSE&G’s emergency service line. Wait outside or go to a neighbor’s home until help arrives.

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