BEAVER, WV (WVNS) — It is colorless, tasteless and odorless; an invisible danger that can incapacitate and kill before someone realizes something is wrong.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning kills around 430 people in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The gas is just one of many byproducts from burning various fuel types, ranging from coal and wood to gas and kerosene.
What makes carbon monoxide poisoning so dangerous is most people don’t even realize they’re being poisoned.
Will Davis with the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department said there are symptoms to keep an eye out for to determine if you are suffering from its effects.
“I personally have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning and can tell you that it will sneak up on you real quick,” said Davis. “A little bit of disorientation, maybe a slight headache coming on, the loss of the fine motor skills. And I didn’t even realize it was happening, until, well it could have gotten a lot worse than it did.”
Davis said it took about 30 minutes of working near a gas-powered generator to start feeling the effects.
He thought he was in a space with plenty of ventilation because the garage door was fully open, but the room didn’t have enough airflow for the gas to dissipate.
“Having proper ventilation, be aware of your surroundings and a carbon monoxide detector goes a long way to help,” said Davis. “Listen to those if you have a carbon monoxide detector and it goes off in your home. Exit the home, call 911, fire department will be able to come by, check using a tool like this. It is a gas detector, we’ll be able to tell what the amount of gas that is in your home.”
Additionally, if you use a kerosene heater to heat a space, Davis says it is best to use K1 kerosene which is designed to burn cleaner and to place it near a window that is open slightly to help disperse any gas.