Winter Weather Brings A Rise In Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

During the winter months is when local fire departments are busy responding to calls related to carbon monoxide poisoning. Lt. Kevin Bland of the Bangor Fire Department says that the cold weather is a big reason why. “The biggest offender is people starting their heating systems up,” says Bland, “a lot of times people don’t maintain their furnaces the way they should.”Maine winters can be unforgiving but Lt. Bland says people need to pay attention to simple safety measures. “I understand people need to be warm and they need to do what they need to do to stay warm but things like space heaters inside the house, things like that need to be vented, people are not venting things like that.”There are some noticeable symptoms to look for if you think you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide. “One of the ways people would notice is dizziness and light headedness. if it progresses, if they didn’t do anything about it, get out and get some fresh air for instance, if they let it go on and on they would start feeling a little nauseous their skin would turn red and then it gets worse over time,” says Bland, “people do die from carbon monoxide poisoning.”Here in Maine a new law is now on the books requiring carbon monoxide detectors be present in homes. “The state has adopted the new NFBA standards for carbon monoxide detectors, not only do you need carbon monoxide detectors, not only do you need smoke detectors in your residence, carbon monoxide detectors are now required and that’s the first form of defense that a homeowner can use to protect his loved ones, is to put a carbon monoxide detector in his house.”There’s also a few things you can do to help firefighters if they’re called to your home because of carbon monoxide. “When we do get a call a call exit the building, get out of the building,” says Bland, “leave everything the way it was. That gives us an opportunity to go in there and find out what the problem is and most of the time we find it can be as simple as a battery that needs replacing, or it could actually be something wrong with a heating appliance.”