Fire services give tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Since it is cooling down, Gwinnettians are using more appliances to stay warm. As a precaution, Fire and Emergency Services dish out ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is hard to detect that comes from incomplete combustion of gas or oil-fired appliances like furnaces, dryers, car engines, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headache, nausea, confusion, dizzy spells and fatigue. If you feel these effects, it's recommended to go outside for fresh air, then seek medical attention.

Here are some tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in your home:

-- Make sure that all home heating appliances are installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to have it checked each year by a certified technician before the temperature outside starts to drop.

-- Install a carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near the bedrooms and on every level of the home. Make sure that everyone in the household knows the sound of the carbon monoxide detector and the smoke detector. If the carbon monoxide detector goes off, don't ignore it. Hit the reset feature on your detector and if it goes off again, evacuate immediately and call 911.

-- Never use gasoline-powered tools and engines (such as generators) indoors. Generators should be placed outdoors away from the structure in a well-ventilated area.

-- Do not burn charcoal or use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a house, garage, vehicle or tent.

-- Avoid using gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.

-- If you have to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it and make sure that the exhaust pipe is not obstructed.

-- When using the fireplace, remember to open the flue for adequate ventilation.