As temperatures start to drop in the St. Louis area, and with many homeowners reaching for their thermostats to turn up the heat, O’Fallon Fire Protection District (OFPD) is urging its residents to check their home heating systems for damage that could result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Leaking furnaces or boilers are one of the most common causes of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning,” OFPD Chief Tom Vineyard says. “Having a qualified technician out to your home to do an annual furnace tune-up is a precaution we can all take to keep our families safe this time of year.”
Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 400 Americans and sends 20,000 to the hospital each year, according to the CDC. Infants, elderly people and individuals with chronic heart disease, anemia and breathing problems are particularly at risk.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, often described as “flu-like,” include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, individual should seek immediate medical attention.
Another thing homeowners can do to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors. Detectors should be installed near sleeping areas, so they will wake household members up when they sound. If a carbon monoxide detector goes off, evacuate immediately and call 911.