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LINCOLN FIRE AND RESCUE
1801 Q Street, Lincoln, NE 68508, 441-8350, fax 441-7098

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 26, 2009
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Hatcher, Fire Captain, 441-8381

FIRE OFFICIALS WARN RESIDENTS OF POSSIBLE CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Due the amount of snow we are seeing piling up in the city of Lincoln, there is a very real but slight chance that vent piping for furnaces could become blocked by snow. Blocked vent pipes spell danger and can quickly fill a home with deadly Carbon Monoxide gases (CO). Residents with gas furnaces and fire places should check the air intake/ exhaust piping too make sure it is not blocked by drifting snow. This Piping is commonly located near the ground level and or on the roof where drifting can occur.

"Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is of greater concern this time of the year" says Captain Jeff Hatcher from Lincoln Fire and Rescue. " Simple drifting can cause snow to pile up around the vents" He said "Also, people shoveling their driveway or using snow blowers or plows, often aren't as conscientious as they should be about where they put the snow."

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless gas that can build up to dangerous, even life threatening levels indoors when fuel-burning devices are not properly vented, operated or maintained. The Centers for Disease Control reports that a estimated 500 deaths occur each year in the United States due to CO poisoning and 8,000 to 15,000 people are examined or treated in hospitals. Breathed over long periods of time, low concentrations of CO may also contribute to other illnesses. Fortunately, inexpensive measures can be taken to prevent this hazardous condition. Lincoln Fire and Rescue recommends that each resident have and maintain at least one working CO detector to avoid these deadly conditions.

What to look for: Low levels of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu like symptoms, food poisoning or other illnesses. Symptoms include Shortness of breath, mild nausea and mild head aches. Moderate levels of CO exposure include Headaches, Dizziness, nausea and Light-headedness. Left undetected, high levels of CO can be fatal causing death with in minutes.

If you believe you are being exposed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning get to fresh air immediately and call 911. If you are unable to leave the building, shut off combustion appliances and open doors and windows for ventilation.

For more information visit www.lincoln.ne.gov key word: Safety tips or http://www.cdc.gov/ key word: CO Poisoning.

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