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Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide: The Injuries Of A St. Paul Couple

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The recent story about a St Paul couple who were found unconscious in their bed and who are now in the hospital in critical condition, because of carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning boiler, should alert us all to the dangers of carbon monoxide. It also reminds me of a couple of cases that have gone through the appellant court system here in Minnesota.

In each of those cases, people were killed as they slept in or upstairs from running cars. There are also the cases I have written about where it was carbon monoxide detectors in the house that probably prevented it from happening again.

In Minnesota from 2003 to 2007, unintentional CO poisonings not related to fire were responsible for 61 deaths and 1,261 visits to emergency departments. CO is most likely to accumulate inside homes during the winter months –

  • Make sure your heating system and all fuel burning appliances are adequately vented and properly maintained.
  • Make sure your furnace has an adequate air intake.
  • Provide adequate ventilation when using fireplaces, wood stoves, or space heaters.
  • Don’t use gasoline engines or burn charcoal in enclosed spaces.
  • Don’t use gas stoves or ovens to heat living areas.
  • Rely on a qualified technician to install furnaces and other fuel-burning appliances.
  • Do a furnace check and check all fuel-burning appliances in the fall.

To read the Department of Health report on carbon monoxide, go to tinyurl.com/ye9tdfp.