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An Indiana family is recovering after suffering carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in their home over the weekend. According to WWMT-TV, police say a man was using a gas saw in the basement of a home Sunday when he started to have chest pains and called 9-1-1. When rescuers arrived, they found CO levels eight times what is considered safe. They say the family’s CO alarm was going off, but no one was paying attention to it. Two adults and four children under the age of ten were all rushed to the hospital. They’re expected to recover.


Photo of a carbon monoxide alarm on a wallCO is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It is often called “The invisible killer” and is created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane, or wood do not burn completely. Here are some CO precautions:

  • Install CO alarms outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations as required by laws, codes, or standards.
  • Vent the exhaust from fuel-burning equipment to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep venting clear and unblocked.
  • If your CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors.
  • Call 9-1-1 from the fresh air location.

NFPA’s Educational Messages Document, Carbon Monoxide Safety tip sheet, and CO community toolkit provide resources for educating the public about the dangers of CO.

portable fireplaces, winter heating safety


According to the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac, exceptionally cold, if not “downright frigid weather,” will predominate over parts of the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley, the Middle Atlantic, Northeast and New England this winter. It also predicts that shots of very cold weather will “periodically reach as far south as Florida and the Gulf Coast!” As news headlines have demonstrated these past few weeks, it appears these winter storm predictions may just be coming true!

To this end, this winter, says Farmers’ Almanac editor, Pete Geiger, will prompt you to “make sure your heat works, your long johns are washed and your slippers are nearby.” This is also the time when many people will make a beeline to their portable fireplaces for added warmth in their homes. If you’re one of the many who own a portable fireplace, you’ll want to practice a handful of safety tips to reduce your risk for a home fire. To start:

• Place the fireplace on a sturdy surface away from table edges
• Never try to move a lit fireplace or one that is still hot
• Allow the device to cool down for at least 15 minutes before refueling
• Extinguish the flame when you leave the room or your home, and when you go to sleep

If the Almanac stays true to its predictions, much of the country is in for a long, cold winter season. Take precautions now to ensure your safety and the safety of your family. Consider all of our tips related to portable fireplaces and download our free tips sheet that you can post on your fridge for easy access and a reminder.

Additional tips on heating fire safety can be found on NFPA’s Put a Freeze on Winter Fires webpage.

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