As temperatures continue to drop and Daylight Savings Time comes to an end this weekend, the Fond du Lac and Green Lake County health departments reminds residents to take action to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide alarm

Carbon monoxide alarm

“We ‘fall back’ an hour on Nov. 6,” Fond du Lac County Health Officer Kim Mueller and Green Lake County Health Officer Rachel Prellwitz said. “When you turn back your clocks, it’s a good time to put new batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors.

They added that health departments tend to see more carbon monoxide poisonings in the cooler months.

“Now is the time for ... residents to make sure their heating sources and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order,” the two health officer said.

On average, carbon monoxide poisoning sends about 500 Wisconsinites to the emergency room each year, according to data from the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program.

These trips to the emergency room for carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable when people are prepared.

Here are tips for people to protect themselves and their families from carbon monoxide:

  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. All single-family duplexes and homes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors may be purchased at most hardware stores for $20 to $50. Daylight Savings Time is a good time each year to replace the batteries in detector and push the “Test” button to make sure it’s working properly. Detectors should be replaced every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Have furnace or wood-burning stoves inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.

  • Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside a home or garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where there are fuel-burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins and RVs.

  • Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.

  • Never run a car in an enclosed space. Even with a door or window open, carbon monoxide levels can still build up to an unsafe level. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide include headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and confusion.

Those who think they may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or the detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/.

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