Winter Fires and Carbon Monoxide

We hope beyond hope that this latest touch of spring will finally last! Perhaps one last post on coping with the cold will push it over the top.

This winter, we've seen more home fires than we ever hoped to see, and most of them are directly related to the weather. In the winter, we bundle up with fireplaces, space heaters, and generators when the power gets spotty. We light candles, bake casseroles, and simmer vats of soup.

Unfortunately, the rise in these warm winter activities actively contributes to the rise in home fires and still worse, silent leaks in carbon monoxide.

High Carbon Monoxide levels can kill in minutes, even when it can't be seen or smelled. The gas is always produced when fuel (gas, oil, wood, kerosene, etc.) burns, but the level is not dangerous unless appliances are not working correctly. The easiest way to ensure that CO levels are normal is to purchase and maintain a Carbon Monoxide detector.

The symptoms of CO poisoning are severe headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, and fainting. If experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately check a detector and exit the home. Your local fire department can clear the house and ensure its safety.

Preventing CO poisoning uses many of the same precautions as preventing home fires during the colder months.


  • Idle a car in the garage, even if the door is open as the fumes may seep into the house.

  • Use a gas oven to heat the home, as the gas may easily leak.

  • Use a charcoal grill indoors.

  • Sleep in rooms where gas or kerosene heaters are unventilated.

  • Use gas-powered engines in doors at any times.

  • Ignore even mild symptoms of CO poisoning.

Educate yourself and your family and invest in the tools to keep you safe from fire, gas, and other disasters that occur so frequently while waiting for spring.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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