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Carbon monoxide poisoning a higher risk in colder weather

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Updated: 12/26/2013 4:58 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Our weather's been mild here, but turning up the heat increases the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Firefighters say the kitchen produces the most carbon monoxide because of flames from the stove and oven, but you'll never see the deadly gas, and you'll never smell it. That's why firefighters say a carbon monoxide detector is crucial.

“If there's a flame, there’s Carbon Monoxide,” said Tim Szymanski with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

A tasteless, odorless and invisible gas, carbon monoxide is called a silent killer. If too much of the gas collects, it can kill -- but your body won't know it.

“The body actually loves it,” said Tim Szymanski with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. “You will not know that you're being overcome, so the only thing that can detect it is the carbon monoxide alarm.”

Such an alarm may have prevented a 2004 tragedy when a gas generator in the garage killed a Las Vegas family of three.

Other examples of how carbon monoxide poisoning can happen:

“You'll see in the winter months people opening the oven to use it for heat. This will produce more deadly gas than it does heat,” said Szymanski. “Usually around Thanksgiving or Christmas, you have people baking in the oven. They have the vent running up above, but that only works if it's vented to the outside. The way you check is to see if you have a pipe going to the outside. What you also see this time of year is people bringing outside cooking devices into the home.”

Szymanski said that many times, the fire department has gone to homes and they have found anywhere from 5 to 10 people unconscious due to carbon monoxide.

The solution? In addition to installing a carbon monoxide alarm, Szymanski says to ventilate your home by opening the windows and doors about once per hour.

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