Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week recognized ahead of Daylight Saving Time ending
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend and fire departments, including AFR, are reminding people to also change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors while they change the clocks back.
According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning kills at least 430 people each year.
"What’s so dangerous about carbon monoxide? The way it works is it displaces the amount of oxygen that’s in your blood," Albuquerque Fire Rescue Lt. Tom Ruiz explained. "Therefore, your vital organs – your brain, your heart – don’t get the amount of oxygen that’s needed to function properly and it can become extremely dangerous and potentially fatal."
The gas is colorless and odorless, which is why it’s so important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
"It will let you know that there is an unhealthy amount of carbon monoxide in your house or apartment," Lt. Ruiz explained. "They do have carbon monoxide detectors that are separate from a smoke alarm and they also have ones that you can purchase that are sort of a combo unit."
Just like a smoke detector, you’ll want them in your living room and near your bedroom just in case.
"We’re coming around that time of year where we change our clocks backward and typically we advise people that’s when it’s a good time to change your batteries inside your smoke alarm," Lt. Ruiz said. "So I think along with that, it’s a great idea for those folks to check their carbon monoxide detector and make sure it’s working properly."
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. If you think you or a family member is experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, AFR says to get outside – away from the gas – and call 911.
"I would say it’s fairly often that we get called out to a carbon monoxide detector alarm," Lt. Ruiz said. "We can check and see if it’s at a dangerous or fatal level and, more often than not, we can locate that source of where the carbon monoxide is coming from."
AFR also says it’s important to not use your gas stove to stay warm and to properly clean your fireplace this winter before using it.
"The overabundance of soot that gets collected in those a lot of times can create that large amount of carbon monoxide from the soot that’s in the unburned soot and it can emit high levels and potentially dangerous levels of carbon dioxide," Lt. Ruiz said.