The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

January 3, 2013

CO poisoning can affect anyone

Simple, inexpensive prevention can keep your family safe

OTTUMWA — The winter months are traditionally the most dangerous time for carbon monoxide poisoning. The silent threat increases when home owners turn on their furnaces and run leaking appliances in enclosed spaces.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning occurs after excessive inhalation of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but being colorless, odorless and tasteless, it is very difficult for people to detect.

Symptoms of mild CO poisoning include lightheadedness, confusion, headaches, vertigo and flu-like effects. On a larger scale, prolonged exposure can lead to toxicity of the central nervous system, heart issues and even death.

Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller says the stealth of CO poisoning is why it can be so deadly.

“The problem really is that you don’t know that you’re being poisoned,” he explained. “You’ll have flu-like symptoms, especially drowsiness, and it will put you into a deeper sleep. That’s the danger.”

In addition to appliances, other sources of carbon monoxide include cigarette smoke, house fires, faulty furnaces, heaters, wood-burning stoves, internal combustion vehicle exhaust, electrical generators, propane-fueled equipment such as portable stoves and gasoline-powered tools. Exposure becomes even more extreme when equipment is used in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces.

During the winter months, residents will close up their home against the cold, Miller said, preventing the toxic vapors from escaping to the outside. Any CO leak will be trapped inside instead of combining with fresh air or finding some other way to leave the building safely.

Miller says there are two simple, inexpensive solutions to CO poisoning. Because this poisoning can affect anyone who has a gas appliance, water heater or furnace, it’s especially important to make sure they’re all in good working order.

“Have a professional come take a look and make sure they’re working properly. A cracked heat exchange leads to leaks. If you don’t get them checked out, you’ll have problems,” he said.

The fire department has always recommended smoke detectors, and CO monitors are also a great preventative measure. They have an alarm similar to smoke detectors but will make a different sound to alert residents to excessive levels of CO. For $20-$50, a combination smoke detector and CO monitor can be the first line of defense against CO poisoning.

“We don’t see it a lot in Ottumwa, but nationwide it’s an issue. You’ll read about whole families who died of carbon monoxide poisoning because they didn’t have detectors,” Miller said. “Sometimes cost is an issue, but it’s well worth it.”

The Ottumwa Fire Department will check on 40-50 CO monitor alarms each year, Miller says. Just like they’ll check on the situation when a smoke detector goes off, they will also perform CO checks.

“We have a detector to check for carbon monoxide, and if it’s higher than a certain level, we’ll call the gas company,” Miller said. “We’re happy to come out and check, and we’ll do what we can. Better safe than sorry.”

1
Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0417 OTT Beth Howard color cover -L -T -M 'Ms. American Pie' tours with her new book

    ELDON — With many hours and countless miles on her RV "The Beast," Eldon's pie lady, Beth Howard, is celebrating the release of her new book with a tour of southwestern states. Howard's second book, "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bol

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • County signs law enforcement agreement with Eddyville OTTUMWA — A law enforcement service contract between Wapello County and the city of Eddyville received supervisors' approval on Tuesday. Beginning July 1, Eddyville will pay the Wapello County Sheriff’s office $3,833 per month or $45,996 for law enfo

    April 15, 2014

  • County considers hiring conservation aide OTTUMWA — On Tuesday morning, Wapello County Board of Supervisors will consider hiring a part-time conservation aide at its weekly board meeting. The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the board’s meeting room located on the third floor of the c

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Brush fire color photo 2 -T Brush fire breaks out on east side of city OTTUMWA — Late Friday morning, a fire broke out in a vacant area of trees and brush next to the Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility. Both the Wapello County Rural Fire Department and Ottumwa Fire Department were called to the scene of the fire,

    April 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wapello County Courthouse.jpg Courthouse to receive facelift

    OTTUMWA — First, Chief Wapello received a facelift. Now, it’s the county courthouse’s turn. On Tuesday evening, Wapello County Board of Supervisors approved spending $139,000 for repair and maintenance of the historic courthouse. Karr Tuckpointing o

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Another health care option OTTUMWA — If you didn't get your "mandatory" health insurance by the deadline earlier this week, you may have another option. Or two. "I'd certainly keep trying," said Greg Kenning, a Wapello County supervisor. He said it's his understanding that the

    April 2, 2014

  • Trial set in child pornography case OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa man accused in a child pornography case will go on trial this summer. Rass Kerby Jr., is charged with enticing a minor to engage in a sex act or simulated sex act and possession of media of a minor engaged in a sex act. He was a

    April 2, 2014

  • Wanted: People who love history OTTUMWA — If you have a love for history, Wapello County has an interest in you. Wapello County Board of Supervisors is considering withdrawing from the State Historical Society’s Certified Local Government program unless interested people are willin

    April 1, 2014

  • 0530 OTT flood damaged bridge -L Bridge repair tops county's 5-year plan

    OTTUMWA — Road construction in Wapello County will be taking on a different look in the next three years. On Tuesday, County Engineer Brian Moore told the Wapello County Board of Supervisors bridge replacement will be a high priority. “We’ll have a h

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0321 OTT animal rescue league update color photo -L -M Animal van trial set

    OTTUMWA — Trial has been scheduled in the case that preceded the rescue of hundreds of animals in Drakesville. Roger Blew, 45, of Drakesville, has pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges he faced in Ottumwa. Police charged Blew with one count

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National