At the request of State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan and The New Hampshire/Vermont CO Alliance, New Hampshire Governor Sununu signed a proclamation declaring November 5-12, 2017 as Carbon Monoxide Awareness week. The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) advised the creation of the first National CO Awareness Week in the United States the week of November 5-12, 2017 to be continued on an annual basis thereafter. Requests were brought forth to the U.S. Congress to proclaim that week to be the first National CO Awareness Week in the United States.
Marshal Degnan wants to remind residents about the dangers of carbon monoxide levels in your homes. “Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. As the winter months come upon us, our use of fuel for heating increases, thereby increasing the potential for elevated levels of carbon monoxide.” says Marshal Degnan.
Nationwide, hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning furnaces or appliances. Marshal Degnan advises, “Unvented space heaters should never be used as a primary source of heat. Should your family need the extra warmth and use an unvented space heater, be sure to install a carbon monoxide alarm.”
Fire departments responded to 931 New Hampshire households where carbon monoxide was a threat and was present since January 2016 to June 2017, and there were two deaths due to CO poisoning. That is why CO alarms are so important. Infants, elderly people, unborn babies, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. Symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. Do not ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. Marshal Degnan warns, “If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 9-1-1.”
A Carbon Monoxide Awareness and Prevention Summit will be held on November 8th at the Fireside Inn and Suites in West Lebanon, NH. The focus for the Summit, “Knowledge is Action”, is to provide a professional opportunity to convene multiple stakeholders to explore carbon monoxide poisoning issues in the NH and VT bi-state region.