As we near the winter months, temperatures drop and the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning begins to rise. As unfortunate as this is to hear, carbon monoxide poisoning is almost entirely preventable, and we are here to help inform you how to take safe steps in doing so.
One of the first things to be aware of is that, often, the culprit is a common appliance that malfunctions or is used improperly. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also be dangerous during power outages. This is because people use alternative sources of fuel or electricity during the cold winter months when people heat their homes.
Carbon monoxide is produced when not enough oxygen reaches a fuel-burning source. Furnaces, car engines, stoves, generators, grills, water heaters, and clothes dryers are some of the sources that can release carbon monoxide. Inadequate ventilation, mechanical issues, and other similar issues can be the cause of carbon monoxide dangers. The frightening nickname, "The Silent Killer," for carbon monoxide is appropriate because if the early signs of a gas leak are ignored or undetected, a person could lose consciousness and become unable to escape to safety.
We want you to be aware of these signs so you are able to stay safe in a potentially unsafe environment. Some symptoms to be aware of when exposed to carbon monoxide can be flu-like symptoms, severe headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and nausea. These symptoms, if ignored, could also lead to confusion, irritability, impaired judgment, and loss of memory and coordination.
The following signs can also indicate a carbon monoxide problem:
● Streaks of soot around fuel-burning appliances
● Excess moisture found on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces
● Excessive rust on flue pipes, other pipe connections, or appliance jacks
● Orange or yellow flames (should be blue) in your combustion appliances
● Small amounts of water leaking from the base of the chimney vent or flue pipe
● Damaged or discolored bricks at the top of your chimney
A great way to aid yourself against carbon monoxide is to get a detector. This is one of the most important devices you can use to protect yourself and people in your surroundings from accidental poisoning. Installing these detectors in all residential units, cabins, and dorms that are equipped with gas-fueled heating or cooking units will be vital to your safety. Carbon monoxide detectors work much like smoke alarms. They are designed to sound alerts warning occupants of high levels of carbon monoxide. As helpful as this aid is, please be reminded that these detectors are no substitute for proper maintenance and routine safe practices.
This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.
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