Alert issued after rash of carbon monoxide cases

Posted at 1:20 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 13:20:49-05

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Colerain Township firefighters are issuing an alert after seeing a spike in the number of carbon monoxide (CO) calls they are sent to.

Firefighters said the calls can be attributed to increased use of furnaces, spaces heaters and fireplaces for warmth as the weather gets colder.

Appliances that use natural gas, propane, fuel oil or wood -- as well as water heaters, stoves and starting vehicles in enclosed spaces -- can cause a rise in the level of CO in a home.

The department received seven calls for carbon monoxide alarms in the past week. Fortunately, no one has been injured in the incidents.

Firefighters said the alarms have them worried for people that don’t have CO monitors in their homes.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is “present when a defective or unmaintained heating source produces incomplete combustion.”

Fire crews said CO displaces and reduces oxygen in a home and can cause flu-like symptoms such as: headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, disorientation, or excess coughing. 

As the gas progresses through the body, people can develop a cherry red rash. Child can also be affected quicker and more severely than adults.

The department released the following tips on how to prevent CO poisoning:

  • Have your home heating systems checked to make sure they are burning cleanly with complete combustion.  For natural or propane gas appliances look for the flame on the heat exchanger to burn almost totally blue.
  • Only use space heaters in a well ventilated room with at least a 36 inch clearance from any combustibles.
  • Check chimney and furnace flues to make sure they are clean and unobstructed allowing the products of combustion to escape the home.
  • Invest in a CO alarm.  The average home only needs one CO alarm to cover the entire residence.

Anyone who believes they are experiencing CO poisoning in their home should call 911 immediately.