As winter arrives, the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center offer reminders to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
In 2018, carbon monoxide poisoning sent 187 people to the emergency room in New Mexico, according to data from the New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. These trips to the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable when people are prepared.
Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide.
Follow these safety tips:
Have furnaces, wood-burning stoves, chimneys and ventilation systems inspected annually by a professional to make sure these heating system components are functionally sound and vent properly to the outside.Don’t use any malfunctioning heating products.Have working carbon monoxide detectors in homes home, as well as battery operated detectors for outdoor use in RVs, cabins, barns and boats. For tips on selecting detectors, visit www.nmtracking.org.Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside a home or in an unventilated garage, barn or other buildings, structures or tents.Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home.Never run a car in an enclosed space.If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, or if a detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911. For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, symptoms and for practical information, visit www.nmtracking.org/health/poisonings/CarbonMonoxidePoisoning.html or call (800) 222-1222.