Carbon monoxide poisoning is known as the “silent killer” and it is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and colorless. Emergency medical responders say the worst things residents can do to stay warm is turn on gas stoves or bring generators and heaters designed for outdoor use into their homes.
“We respond to dozens of carbon monoxide related incidents each winter, usually involving more than one person,” said Commander Mike Benavides of the Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services. “Patients typically are suffering from headaches, nausea, dizziness or other levels of altered mental status. Once this type of toxic exposure is identified, we immediately remove them from the effected location and provide them fresh air and/or supplemental oxygen. More severe cases may necessitate the transport of patients to a bariatric chamber for treatment.”
Benavides said the most common sources of carbon monoxide are kerosene space heaters, charcoal grills, propane heaters and stoves and gasoline or diesel powered generators which should only be used outdoors.
Unattended fireplaces can also be deadly for Texas residents. State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said just one spark flying out of a fireplace can be a life-changing event.
“Left unattended, it’s essential to use a screen or glass enclosure to keep sparks, rolling logs and embers from jumping out of the fireplace and starting a fire,” said Connealy. Connealy said never use gasoline, lighter fluid or other fuel to light the fire.
Last year, there were more than 2,000 residential structure fires in Texas, resulting in six fatalities, 90 injuries and causing approximately $50 million in damages.
The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) also urges residents to have a working smoke alarm. “Smoke alarms are a lot like insurance,” said Mark Hanna. “You can go to bed at night knowing that you are protected in the event of a fire.”
The Insurance Council of Texas is the largest state insurance trade association in the country consisting of approximately 500 property and casualty insurers writing business in Texas. For more information click on www.insurancecouncil.org or follow us on Facebook at ICT On Facebook and Twitter @InsCouncilTx and @VoiceForTexas for other up to date news and information.
Perfect time to make sure that your contents and property coverage are enough to cover your loss should this happen to you. Do not let fire stop you from enjoying the new year.