The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

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
Local News
  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Sports EBF softball cover photo EBF advances to State Finals FORT DODGE — Fifth-ranked Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont had a very tough task in front of itself in a Class 2A semifinal Thursday at the state softball tournament at Rogers Park. All the Rockets had had to do was beat top-ranked Highland to reach thei

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victim advocates: Helping families cope

    DAVENPORT — Family members of a slain Wapello County woman have someone to lean on — literally and figuratively — while they sit through a murder trial for the third time. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges of fi

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Five Things logo -L -T Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's a wide variety of activities to choose from this weekend in southeast Iowa. Get out and explore the countryside, find some new books to curl up with or help raise money for some great causes. The choice is yours — pick one or attend

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook