DETROIT, Nov. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year in the U.S., unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning not linked to fires claims more than 400 lives, results in at least 20,000 visits to the emergency room, and hospitalizes more than 4,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As temperatures drop and Michiganders increase natural gas use to keep homes and businesses warm, the risk of CO poisoning rises. CO is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and hazardous gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas, propane, oil, gasoline and charcoal. CO can also result from improper ventilation of fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces.
The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are much like those of the flu, including:
- shortness of breath
"Safety is our top priority at DTE Energy, and we urge residents to be particularly alert to carbon monoxide danger during the fall and winter heating season. It's when CO exposure most frequently occurs," said Brad Burcz, senior safety and health engineer, DTE Energy. "One of the best defenses against CO poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide alarm near all sleeping areas in your home. If dangerous levels of CO are detected, an audible alarm will alert you."
DTE offers the following tips to prevent CO poisoning in homes and businesses:
- For businesses, install carbon monoxide alarms in main areas away from vents and appliances or equipment that produce smoke or steam.
- Replace batteries in CO alarms annually.
- If a CO alarm is activated, or the presence of carbon monoxide is suspected, immediately get out of the house or building into fresh air, and if necessary, seek medical attention.
- Ensure all fuel-burning appliances are operating and venting properly.
- DTE Energy recommends an annual furnace inspection by a licensed professional.
- Check yearly to verify flues, vents and chimneys are connected, in good condition and clear of debris.
DTE natural gas customers who detect CO should call 800.947.5000 for assistance. Others should contact their natural gas provider or licensed heating and cooling professional immediately to have an emergency inspection performed. A fee may apply.
Learn more about sources of CO in your home.
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.
SOURCE DTE Energy