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Snow Storm: Carbon Monoxide Precaution Reminders

A National Weather Service blizzard warning remains in effect through 6 a.m. Sunday, forecasting an additional 7 to 14 inches of snow and sustained winds up to 30 miles per hour with gusts as high as 50 miles per hour.

North College Park resident Chris Wilson has sent the following reminders about checking for snow blockage in these commonly forgotten areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

1. Gas Clothes Dryer Vent – outside
2. Natural Gas Vent – outside
3. Your car exhaust pipe (before you start it)

4. Also, a reminder to consider getting carbon monoxide detectors if we haven’t already. A 2014 PG County law has required them for most homes in our area (I didn’t realize until today!).

An anecdotal story and links to further information are provided below. Stay warm and stay safe =0)

1. Gas Clothes Dryer Vent – outside & 2. Natural Gas Vent – outside

While clearing the snow around my house, I remembered to check for blockage of my outside dryer vent and Natural Gas vent (We can often forget that). I was glad I did because my dryer vent was blocked by a good 6″+ of snow and the snow was just shy of the Natural Gas vent. My dryer is a gas dryer so a blocked vent would have allowed exhaust fumes including carbon monoxide – back into the house when drying out my winter apparel from shoveling earlier.

Inline image 3

In my development here in Hollywood, we have indoor gas meters with a small outdoor vent. My vent is by my water spigot as seen above.

I wanted to use my story to remind my neighbors to protect themselves from carbon monoxide poisoning as we all hunker down.

Washington Gas has tips at: http://www.washgas.com/pages/WinterEssentials

3. Car Exhaust

Another commonly overlooked source of carbon monoxide we can forget in 2ft of snow is our car tailpipe. A News4 article from 2014 had a good general snow removal article and recommends:

“If you’re headed outside to warm up your car, be sure to clear the tail pipe first. With the amount of snow we’ve received, covered tailpipes pose a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.”

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Snow-Removal-Around-Your-Home-245388521.html

4. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Lastly, I did not realize that according to a 2014 Prince George’s county law, those of us with gas furnaces, fuel burning appliances and/or attached garages are required to have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor. I had bought a couple months ago from Home Depot but hadn’t powered them up until last night. Glad I did.

Info sheet at: http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/sites/Fire/Resources/Tip-Sheets/Documents/PGFD.Carbon_Monoxide.pdf

For the backstory see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/prince-georges-to-require-carbon-monoxide-detectors-starting-july-1/2014/06/26/5c8717b6-fc8a-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html

That’s a lot of info, but I hope it gets us to double check and remind our neighbors and loved ones as well.

Stay warm & stay safe!

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