Take safety precautions before you fire up the furnace for winter
Days at the beach are a thing of the past and the foliage is starting to take on its autumn colors. If you haven't done so already, it won't be long before you start adjusting the thermostat to take the evening or early morning chill out of the house. National Grid said now is the time to start thinking about staying safe from the potentially deadly effect of carbon monoxide poisoning.
"The safety of the public is a priority for National Grid," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid in New York. "Taking proper safety precautions now can prevent senseless tragedies from occurring in the months ahead."
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. It is the byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene and gasoline. Common sources of carbon monoxide include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, wood stoves, fireplaces and motor vehicle engines. During the heating season when windows and doors are tightly shut, fresh air is sealed out, creating the potential for carbon monoxide to build up over time. National Grid reminds its customers of the following safety information to help identify and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending on the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
If carbon monoxide is or is suspected to be present in a home, go outside immediately and call 911 first. After calling 911, call National Grid's gas emergency contact number at 1-800-892-2345.
Do not return to the home until the carbon monoxide source is found.
Carbon Monoxide Prevention Tips:
•Arrange for an annual check of the heating system by a licensed professional heating contractor. If the heating system hasn't been inspected yet, call now.
•Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
•Be sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer's instructions.
•Never use a gas range for heating or burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
•Install a government-approved home carbon monoxide detector on every floor.
•If a back-up generator is used to supply power during outage, be sure to operate it outdoors.
•Early snowfalls could block vents for furnaces or hot water heaters causing CO to back up into a building and result in carbon monoxide poisoning for those inside.
•Open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator indoors.
National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon monoxide-related calls for all natural gas customers within its service area - even if one purchases natural gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer. Always call 911 first.
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