CONTACT: Beth Kaplan, (608) 267-3810
CARBON MONOXIDE THREAT GROWS IN WINTER
New law requires carbon monoxide detectors in dwellings
MADISONWith the return of below zero temperatures and an upcoming
state law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in residences, health
officials today reminded everyone to be aware of the dangers of carbon
monoxide (CO). Earlier this week, a malfunctioning furnace caused several
people in Rock County to be rushed to the hospital with potentially
dangerous levels of CO exposure.
“The presence of carbon monoxide in homes is more common than people
realize, especially during the cold weather months,” said Dr. Henry
Anderson, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health Services. “The
easiest way to protect yourself and your family is with a carbon monoxide
On February 1, 2011, a new law requiring carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to be
installed in all one- and two-family dwellings takes effect. Newly
constructed homes will require CO detectors that are directly wired to the
home’s electrical service and existing homes may use battery-powered,
stand-alone detectors. State law currently includes a similar requirement
for multi-family dwellings.
Detectors work like smoke alarms to alert you to dangerously high
levels of carbon monoxide. Battery powered portable CO detectors are also
available for use away from home. Health officials recommend installing CO
detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas.
CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can be emitted from poorly
functioning or unvented furnaces or other gas powered home appliances.
Outdoor appliances such as portable generators, heaters, and stoves, can
also create dangerous levels of CO in cabins, campers, tents, and hunting
and fishing shacks.
Symptoms of CO poisoning are flu-like and include headache, fatigue,
dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and mental confusion. High levels
of exposure may lead to more serious health problems, including loss of
consciousness and death.
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Last Revised: January 20, 2011