Safety experts warn of dangerous problem during cold weather

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – As the colder weather settles in, safety experts are reminding people of a silent, sometimes deadly problem that’s more present during these months.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can be deadly very quickly if someone is exposed to it.

The gas is released when fuel is burned, which happens more in the winter months.

Stephanie Weigel is the injury prevention coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman. She said all it takes is one vent in your home to be clogged before you could have a potentially deadly buildup of carbon monoxide.

Weigel said you should have a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector on all floors of your home and in every sleeping space.

“Hear the beep where you sleep, so that way, it’s not building up in your bedroom with the door closed and your CO detector is in the hallway,” she said.

Detection is good, but prevention is better, Weigel said.

“Walk around your home and identify all of the vents associated with your heating, your laundry, your hot water, anything that burns a fuel,” she said.

She said to take a flashlight and look to make sure that leaves, twigs or even a nest are not blocking those vents.

“You have to keep up with that through the winter,” she said. “What we sometimes see is, maybe you have a dryer vent that is low to the ground because it’s coming up from the basement. We get a few inches or a foot of snow, which is not uncommon here in Ohio, and it blocks the vent.”

Prevention and alarms are especially important because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can look like many other things.

“Dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue — all of those things we associate with, ‘Ugh, I think I am coming down with the flu,” she said.

By the time you may realize it’s something more serious, it may be too late.

Weigel added that heating up your car in the garage could also be dangerous. Even with the garage door open, you never know if the wind is blowing those fumes right back into your home.