Carbon monoxide is a very toxic gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
A victim may not experience ANY of the following symptoms, or only one or a few of these symptoms:
- Visual disturbances
- Fainting upon exertion
- Loss of muscle control
- Tightening of the chest
- Fluttering of the heart
- Cherry red skin (in severe cases)
- Prolonged exposure can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage or death
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often confused with those of influenza and the highest incidence of poisoning occurs at the onset of cold weather or during flu season. For these reasons, the best way to detect it is with a blood test.
High levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in a home by:
- Malfunctioning heating systems.
- Blocked chimneys or heating/water heating vent pipes.
- Lack of adequate heating equipment ventilation.
- Indoor use of barbecue grills.
- Use of cooking appliances for heating purposes.
- Sitting inside a motionless vehicle for a prolonged period of time with the motor running.
- Repairing engines (or lawn mowers, snow blowers, vehicles, etc.) without proper ventilation.
Stuffy, stale, or smelly air is a warning sign of potentially harmful levels of carbon monoxide
- Very high humidity
- Fallen soot from a fireplace or heating system
- No draft in your chimney or a hot draft backing out of the heating system and into the basement or house
Precautionary measures that can be taken to lessen the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Check your heating system and chimney every Fall for blockage.
- Have your heating system "tuned up" (preferably before the heating season begins) to ensure that it is in good working order.
- Periodically check your heating system for hot drafts backing out of the burner and into your basement or house.
- Have your appliances checked periodically to ensure they are working properly.
- If you insulate your home, have major renovations done, or enclose your heating system to increase living space, make sure there is adequate ventilation.
- Use appliances in the manner for which they were intended.
- Don't use barbecue grills indoors.
- Don't use your stove, oven or range to heat your home.
- Don't run a vehicle indoors.
- Don't repair lawn mowers, snow blowers or vehicles indoors without proper ventilation.
- Have your vehicle's muffler and tailpipes inspected regularly for carbon monoxide leaks.
If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide in your home:
- Call your local fire department
- The Fire Department will respond with one engine crew equipped with the latest in Carbon Monoxide detection at NO COST. Don't hesitate to call 911 if you suspect Carbon Monoxide in your home!
- Open the windows and doors.
- Call your fuel supplier or a licensed heating contractor for an emergency inspection.
- If carbon monoxide is detected, seek medical attention immediately.
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To All Home Owners:
The town of Easthampton adopted Massachusetts General Law Chapter 148, Sections 26C through 26E at the Town Meeting on January 11, 1989. This law requires smoke detectors in all buildings in Easthampton, used in whole or in part for residential purposes and allows one (1) year for compliance.
The following guidelines will help you comply with these new laws:
Re: apartment houses, containing six (6) or more dwelling units, hotels, boarding or lodging houses, and family hotels, etc. Each apartment shall be equipped with smoke detectors near all bedroom areas. these detectors shall be permanently wired, so they cannot be turned off with a switch. All hallways shall have smoke detectors on each floor, including the basement. If hallways, and basement shall be wired in tandem, so all units alarm at the same time, heat detectors may be required in other areas.
Thirteen (13) or more units - same as above - except may be required to be connected to the fire department.
Re: Three (3) to five (5) family dwelling units: Battery operated smoke detectors will be allowed in the apartments. Interconnected permanently wired smoke detectors will be required in stairways hallways and basement levels.
Re: One (1) and two (2) family dwellings: Smoke detectors to protect each bedroom area with at least one (1) smoke detector on each level. Detectors may be hard wired or battery operated, new construction must be hard wired.
Re: Commercial buildings with residential occupancies: Same installation requirements, depending on the number of apartments.
Any house that has had a smoke detector inspection since July 1, 1989 will not require a re-inspection for compliance with this law. All houses in town must and will be inspected, no smoke detectors will be allowed to be placed on the walls. There is no fee for this inspection.
Any questions concerning the law or the proper location of smoke detectors please call the Easthampton Fire Department at 527-4200.
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