Avoid carbon monoxide dangers this winter

CLEVELAND—When winter storm warnings are issued, make sure you are prepared with a portable heater that is safe to use inside. According to the Camp Safe Campaign, consumers must learn to identify the difference between products approved for indoor use and those that are only used outdoors.

Certain heaters are available that are designed for temporary heat inside. Make sure to read all product packaging carefully to find out if the particular heater is approved for indoor use.

Outdoor-only products like heaters, camp stoves, lanterns and grills, are designed to be used outdoors, in freely ventilated areas. They should never be used inside, especially while sleeping. When using either heaters approved for indoor use or outdoor-only portable propane products, read all product packaging, operating instructions and safety guidelines carefully before operating.

“If you want safe, temporary emergency heat in case of a heavy snow storm or power outage, a portable propane heater that is approved for indoor use can help to eliminate the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Camp Safe spokesman Dennis Pavan. “As an extra safeguard, it’s best to open a window to allow fresh air to circulate, no matter how cold it is outside.”

Portable propane products burn and consume oxygen for combustion and give off carbon monoxide, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, sleepiness and confusion. Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, and low oxygen levels in the blood could result in the loss of consciousness and death.

Propane cylinders should not be stored indoors, and it is against most fire regulations to use a 20-pound barbecue cylinder inside. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and safety tips for proper use and storage information.

For a free safety brochure about portable propane products, contact Camp Safe at 888-226-7487; visit www.campsafe.org or write to P.O. Box 45002, Cleveland, OH 44145.

From the Dec. 27, 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue

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