A potentially-deadly situation that's all-too-common during the winter months, carbon monoxide poisoning.
On Wednesday morning, a Colorado Springs family went to the hospital. Paramedics say they were overcome by dangerous fumes in their home.
It happened in the 3900 block of Fetlock Circle, that's near North Academy and Austin Bluffs Parkway.
The four children and their mother were taken to Memorial Hospital. All treated and released from the hospital by the afternoon.
Paramedics say the family members had flu-like symptoms and called 9-1-1. Firefighters think there were problems with the gas furnace. And they say the family got out just in time, since people can die quickly from carbon monoxide poisoning.
"It's a colorless, odorless gas, and pretty much anything that does have gas can permeate carbon monoxide if it doesn't burn cleanly," said paramedic Bruce Monson.
Carbon monoxide it emitted when a gas appliance doesn't work properly. Things in your home to keep your eye on, are gas furnaces and gas stoves. Firefighters recommend you get a carbon monoxide detector. Since carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, that is the only way to detect this silent killer.
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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Tips
- DO have your fuel-burning appliances -- including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves -- inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.
- DO choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside whenever possible, have them properly installed, and maintain them according to manufacturers’ instructions.
- DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel burning.
- DO call EPA’s IAQ INFO Clearinghouse (1-800-438-4318) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (1-800-638-2772) for more information on how to reduce your risks from CO and other combustion gases and particles.
- DON’T idle the car in a garage -- even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
- DON’T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
- DON’T ever use a charcoal grill indoors -- even in a fireplace.
- DON'T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
- DON’T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.
- DON’T ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.
Source: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/coftsht.html (United States Environmental Protection Agency).