Collaborative Effort between State, Utilities Designed to Raise Awareness of Silent Killer
Submitted by Consumers Energy
In an effort to increase awareness around the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) – an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas – Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have collaborated to designate Oct. 30-Nov. 5 as Michigan Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning sickens thousands of citizens and causes nearly 400 accidental deaths each year in the United States,” Snyder stated in his proclamation. “Michigan residents should be aware that unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning can occur almost anywhere – in homes, businesses, RVs, cabins, boats and ice shanties.”
CO poisoning occurs when appliances and consumer products are improperly operated or not vented properly. This includes furnaces, boilers, water heaters, ovens, fireplaces, portable heaters, generators and vehicles.
“We care about the communities we serve, and want people to know how to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning by knowing its signs, symptoms and causes,” said Charles Crews, vice president of gas operations for Consumers Energy.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic the flu and can include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and stinging or burning of the eyes. Prolonged exposure can cause loss of consciousness and even death. High concentrations of carbon monoxide can kill in less than five minutes.
If you experience these symptoms and suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, leave your home/the building immediately, call 9-1-1 for medical attention and stay out of the building until the problem has been corrected.
“The best defense against CO poisoning is to install an Underwriters Laboratory-approved audible carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home,” said Nicholas Solomon, corporate safety specialist for DTE Energy. “We recommend interconnecting all CO alarms, so when one alarms they all alarm.”
Carbon monoxide alarms are often combined with smoke alarms and can be purchased at hardware and grocery stores. Another way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning is to make sure your gas appliances are operating and venting properly. A yearly inspection is recommended.
Other tips for protecting against deadly carbon monoxide poisoning include:
Inspecting your furnace annually, with regular tune-ups performed by a qualified service professional.
Changing or cleaning furnace air filters at least once every month (more if pets are present) during the heating season.
Regularly inspecting your chimney and vent pipes to be sure they are free of obstructions like leaves and nests.
Installing generators at least 25 feet from an enclosed area and away from doors, windows and fresh air intakes. Never use a generator in a basement, enclosed garage or near air intake pipes.
Avoiding the use of gas stoves or charcoal grills to heat a building. Never leave a supplemental heater or fireplace unattended.
For a printable fact sheet on carbon monoxide safety, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com/cosafety
About Consumers Energy: Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
About DTE Energy: DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), Michigan’s largest energy company, 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 1.3 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.
Consumers Energy is one of the nation's largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.6 million of Michigan's 10 million residents, in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
Our Growing Forward strategy calls for investing more than $6 billion in Michigan over the next five years. That includes significant investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental and customer service enhancements, and new power generation.
The investments make Consumers Energy one of the largest investors in Michigan and will help the utility maintain and improve service to customers, create jobs, boost the state’s economy and expand the state’s tax base.
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