Tips to avoid CO2 poisoning

By Telegraph Staff

Carbon monoxide poisoning kills or injures someone in New Hampshire every year. Since the danger rises with increased use of furnaces and generators, state Fire Marshal Bill Degnan issued a warning this week to New Hampshire residents following the winter season’s first cold snap.

While generators and malfunctioning heating systems are most often the culprit, ovens, space heaters and vehicles can be a danger, too, Degnan said.

Degnan said he’s heard of people using regular gas in their furnaces because it’s cheaper than heating oil. He strongly urges not doing that because it can cause a fire or explosion.

He does recommend keeping generators at least 10 feet from a house with the exhaust pointed away from the building. They should never be used in an enclosed space, including garages, he said.

Heavy snows bring another danger, namely overloaded roofs that can collapse from the weight of snow and ice buildups, Degnan said. Snow buildups should be watched carefully and removed when necessary, he said.

Degnan released further tips for a “fire safe winter”:

Only use type of fuel listed for the appliance.

Have each heating appliance serviced every year by a trained technician. This will improve the efficiency of your heating system as well as its safety.

Install furnaces or other heating appliances in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and the State Fire Code.

Plug electric space heaters directly into the outlet. Keep furniture and draperies at least 36 inches from the heater.

As a rule of thumb, provide 36 inches of clearance between a wood heating appliance and any combustible surface or material.

If you aren’t sure your heating system and chimney meet fire safety codes, ask your local fire department to inspect them.

Use only dry, seasoned hardwood. If you are unsure about the rules for safe wood burning, consult your local fire officials for advice.

Install a smoke detector on each level of your home. Check your smoke detectors at least once per month.

Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Develop a fire escape plan and practice family fire drills.

Coals in a pile of wood ashes can stay live for many days. Store wood ashes in a covered metal container set on a dirt or concrete surface at least 36 inches from any combustible surface or materials.