Odorless, tasteless, colorless killer - Tucson News Now

Odorless, tasteless, colorless killer

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Most of us are bundled up inside our homes with the heat cranked up tonight, but forcing your furnace to work extra hard comes with it's own risks: the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

There have already been several cases of exposure to the deadly gas here in Tucson. Tucson firefighters say they've already responded to calls of several carbon monoxide detectors going off, an alarm that you cannot turn off or ignore. The consequences can be deadly.

It's a beep you don't want to hear in the middle of the night. Beeps that mean the difference between life and death, an uninvited danger lurking in your home.

"Simply put its the silent killer. It's odorless, tasteless, colorless, you don't know it's there," said Tucson Fire Cpt. Barrett Baker.

Just over the weekend, four calls of carbon monoxide exposure reported at the drug and poison control center. Last year, staff say they received a total of 102 calls, majority of them between the months of December through March.

"The majority of them happen in the coldest time of year, usually when people do things out of the usual routine.  They'll turn on heaters, bring in space heaters they obviously don't use any other time of the year, bring them indoors," said Keith Boesen, director of Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

In some cases even using gas grills to heat up their homes, "People are doing whatever it takes to get warm even if it means bringing that grill indoors. It does emit more carbon monoxide especially in an enclosed space," said Baker.

A faulty part in any appliance, a blocked fireplace flue, or even a generator close to your window can crack up the reading on this carbon monoxide alarm. 

"If you have a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm know they are two different things.  When one goes off, you might think it's the smoke alarm, it could be the carbon monoxide alarm," Baker said.

Some common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning- if you wake up with headaches, dizziness or nausea, you might want to check the carbon monoxide levels in your home.

And if the thing does start to beep, open up all your windows and head outside get some fresh air, then call 911.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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