FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Cold winter weather is prompting the Department for Public Health to remind Kentuckians to take steps in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
In Kentucky, carbon monoxide poisoning sends more than 200 people per year to the emergency room, according to data from the Kentucky’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. According to the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, an average of 17 Kentuckians die every year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Carbon monoxide poisonings are more likely during colder weather, so it is very important that Kentucky residents make sure their heating sources and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order,” said Rebecca Gillis, director of the DPH Division of Public Health Protection and Safety.
Since 2011, Kentucky law has required CO detectors in newly constructed one and two-family dwellings, townhomes less than three stories, apartment buildings, dormitories, adult/childcare facilities and assisted living facilities which contain a fuel-burning-appliance or an attached garage.
State health officials strongly encourage residents to follow these guidelines below to prevent injury, illness or death:
--Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to replace the batteries in your detector yearly and push the “Test” button to make certain it is working properly. Replace your detector every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
--Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
--Never run a gasoline or propane heater or grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or in an unventilated garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins, RVs, hunting blinds and boats with enclosed cabins.
--Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20-25 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
--Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside.
More information about carbon monoxide poisoning can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/co/default.htm