Public Safety Advisory Relative to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
The Boston Police Department has received several calls relative to carbon monoxide poisoning. Specifically, the BPD has received several calls relative to individuals being overcome by carbon monoxide while sitting or attempting to stay warm in vehicles. Preliminary information indicates that dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are entering cars as a result of exhaust pipes being blocked by snow. The BPD would like to remind community members to be cognizant of the dangers specific to carbon monoxide. Whether in a car or a home, repercussions can be deadly. As such, community members should be aware of the enclosed safety tips.
What is carbon monoxide? Often referred to as the silent killer, CO is a gas you cannot see, taste or smell. It’s created when fossil fuels such as kerosene, gasoline, natural gas, propane, methane or wood do not burn properly.
Where does carbon monoxide come from? CO poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness. Exposure to undetected high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.
Precautions to be taken:• If shoveling out your vehicle, be sure to remove any snow or ice that may be blocking the exhaust pipe.
• If using a fire place, be sure to open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.
• Avoid using an oven or stovetop to heat your home as the CO gas could have harmful effects to both people and pets.
• Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
• If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials. The CO gas might kill people and pets.
• Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
• Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
• Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
If you experience symptoms of CO poisoning:• Immediately move to a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window or door). Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for.
• Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window). Remain at a fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.