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Just this past week five people died of carbon monoxide, CO, poisoning. A youngster and adult perished in an outdoor trailer while camping, and grandparents and child were poisoned by a poorly installed furnace. The week before, eleven people went to a New Jersey hospital with CO poisoning.

As people closeup homes against the cold weather and fire up heating systems, the risk of CO poisoning is increased. Many households have gas furnaces or oil-burning furnaces, portable generators, or charcoal grills which produce this poison gas.

Carbon monoxide is produced when a fossil fuel is burned in a furnace, vehicle, generator, or grill. Any equipment powered by fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal can produce concentrations of CO enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, posing a risk to people and animals.

Carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas can cause sudden illness and death. Early symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness and nausea. Further exposure may induce confusion, chest pains and blurred vision.

To protect against this very real danger, install CO detectors, battery-powered or with battery backup, near every sleeping area. Check monitors regularly to insure proper operation. Also have your furnace serviced annually, with inspection for proper functioning.

And if you have a portable generator, never use it inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. A portable generator should only be operated outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.