2007-02-09 / Community

Tips To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As record balmy winter weather ends and typical frigid temperatures set in, homeowners across the Northeast are cranking up their heating systems. KeySpan officials today urged the general public to take some critical steps to prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning.

"Malfunctioning heating equipment, regardless of the fuel source, pose great danger," said Robert B. Catell, Chairman and CEO of KeySpan Corporation. "Heating, hot water and venting systems must be checked and cleaned regularly." Winter is when most CO incidents occur. "We want to prevent any tragedy," Catell added.

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and poisonous gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of any fossil fuel. It can also be generated by automobiles left running in a closed area adjacent to homes. Breathing CO can cause serious injury and even death. Symptoms of CO poisoning include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.

"The best defense against Carbon Monoxide is installing a CO detector/alarm," Catell continued. New York City law requires CO detectors to be installed in all residential buildings, including private homes. It is recommended that the alarm be marked with the "UL" certification (UL 2034), indicating that it meets the widely accepted standards set by Underwriter's Laboratories, Inc. (UL).

Anyone who suspects a carbon monoxide problem should leave the building immediately to get fresh air and call 911.

Here are some ways to prevent carbon monoxide problems:

Install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home.

Have a professional check and clean your heating, hot water and venting systems regularly.

Have your chimney inspected regularly for clogs or debris.

Keep exhaust vents free of obstructions, including snow drifts, which can block ventilation.

Don't use a range, oven or clothes dryer for heating.

For more information: check www.keyspanenergy.com or call

(718) 643-4050 in New York.

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