When temperatures drop to dangerous levels, many families rely heavily on their gas-powered appliances, something that more-often-than-not works but can also pose a deadly, hidden problem.
Carbon monoxide has been called the silent killer and can hit any home at any time if homeowners don’t take necessary precautions.
A furnace in bad working condition or using a stove top or an oven to heat a home can cost people their lives.
The issues are caused by flames inside of these gas appliances not burning efficiently and therefore not burning off the ingredients of the gas.
When gas appliances do not operate properly, people can end up with carbon monoxide in their home and if they are asleep it becomes more deadly as the gas is both tasteless and odorless.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, confusion and death.
Overland Park Firefighter Tyler Butt says everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home and should be sure to check the batteries.
“Every single day in Overland Park, we run several CO alarms every day,” Butt said. “Oftentimes, it’s just a battery problem with the CO alarms, sometimes there’s small amounts of CO in a home. But anytime your CO alarm goes off, call 911. It’s important for us to come out and check.”
Butt also says the placement of the detectors is important, with the best place being near the bedroom.
“If you’re awake and moving about your house, you’re going to hear an alarm going off on the first floor. But if that alarm is in the basement or on the first floor and it’s the middle of the night, you may not hear that alarm if it’s in the basement,” Butt said.
Many carbon monoxide detectors have an electrical backup that allows them to be plugged into a standard home electrical outlet.
Experts advise people to call a technician to inspect any gas appliances.
“This is the time that we do see these failures," Butt said. "So, if you haven’t had a good service plan on your furnace, this is a great time to call an expert out to your home, have them look it over and make sure everything is in working order to keep you safe.”
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