LCHD offering tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

For the Tomahawk Leader

LINCOLN COUNTY – With temperatures outside dropping, the Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) is reminding the public to take action to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in homes, cabins, hunting shacks and other enclosed areas.

“Fuel burning appliances, when not properly installed or maintained, are the main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Michael Mandli, LCHD Environmental Health Specialist.

“On average, carbon monoxide poisoning sends about 500 Wisconsinites to the emergency room each year, according to data from the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program,” LCHD stated. “These trips to the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable when people are prepared.”

LCHD offered the following carbon monoxide safety tips:

  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. All single-family duplexes and homes in Wisconsin are required to have detectors on every level, including the basement. Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Change batteries twice a year and replace your detector every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected annually. Hire a professional to make sure it is functionally sound and vents properly outside the home.
  • Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins and RVs.
  • Generators should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
  • Never run a car in an enclosed space. Even with a door or window open, carbon monoxide levels can still build up to an unsafe level.

LCHD said symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide include headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and confusion. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes.

“If you think you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911,” LCHS stated. “Do not re-enter the building until it has been declared safe to do so.”

For more information about carbon monoxide, visit

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