NYSEG and RG&E Offer Safety Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

ROCHESTER, NY — November 11, 2016 — New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E), subsidiaries of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), remind residents that as temperatures drop and heating systems switch on, prevention is the best weapon against carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We care about the communities we serve, and want people to be knowledgeable, prepared, and safe whenever appliances are used that can create carbon monoxide,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E.

Carbon monoxide gas is produced by a variety of sources, including natural gas and oil furnaces, gas stoves, water heaters and automobile exhaust. It is odorless and invisible, but toxic. It is can accumulate in enclosed areas when appliances and consumer products are improperly operating or not vented properly.

The companies recommend making sure heating systems are clean and functioning, and that carbon monoxide alarms are installed in homes. Place carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom.
Faulty furnaces and water heaters are common causes of carbon monoxide incidents. The warning signs of poisoning include flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. At higher concentrations, the gas can cause brain damage or death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning, responsible for about 400 deaths a year and sending an additional 20,000 people to the emergency room.

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Install CO detectors: Detectors or alarms are the only way to detect carbon monoxide. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of a house and in a central location outside each sleeping area.
  • Do a monthly alarm test and change batteries every six months. If any carbon monoxide alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Inspect heating systems: Nearly 41 percent of carbon monoxide exposure occurs during the winter months. Have heating systems inspected and serviced by a qualified technician before heating season and have vent pipes and chimneys inspected as well. 
  • Stove safety: The gas stove can be a source of carbon monoxide poisoning. Run an exhaust fan when cooking. Periodically, open a window to allow fresh air to circulate. A gas oven or stove should never be used for space heating. 
    Indoor awareness: Never use generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves, or any natural gas-burning appliance indoors, in a garage, or in any confined area.
  • Garage: Never leave a car running in an attached garage — even if the garage door is open, because carbon monoxide emissions can still leak into your home.