HARRISBURG (December 18, 2019) – As colder temperature set in, state Senator Andy Dinniman was recently joined by the Carly Imbierowicz Foundation in warning children, teens, and families of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
“As we get into winter, more residents are using heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, generators and other appliances that produce carbon monoxide,” Dinniman said. “There’s also the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in malfunctioning vehicles or those with exhaust pipes that are blocked by obstructions – like leaves, mud or snow. It’s important to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, recognize the symptoms and take steps to prevent it because it can very difficult to detect.”
Carbon monoxide is called the “silent killer” – it’s colorless, odorless, tasteless and can’t be detected by humans without the help of an alarm or detector. Depending on the degree and length of exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can harm the central nervous system, cause permanent brain damage or damage the heart, leading to life-threatening cardiac complications or death.
Exposure to carbon monoxide may be particularly dangerous for unborn babies, young children, older adults, and people who have chronic heart disease. Signs and symptoms include dull headache, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.
Residents are advised to take precautions, such as:
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors in sleeping areas (with smoke detectors) and checking their batteries twice a year.
- Opening the garage door before starting a car and never leaving your car running with the door closed.
- Using gas appliances as recommended. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Don’t run generators in an enclosed space, such as the basement or garage – only use them outside away from doors and windows.
- Ensuring that all fuel-burning appliances and engines, like space heaters, furnaces, charcoal grills, fireplaces, portable generators, water heaters, and wood-burning stoves, are properly vented.
- Keeping your fireplace in good condition by cleaning your chimney and flue every year.
- Keeping vents and chimneys unblocked during remodeling. Check that they aren’t covered by tarps or debris.
Over several years, Dinniman has worked with Donna Imbierowicz of the Carly Imbierowicz Foundation in spreading the word and raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
The foundation is named for the late Carly Marie Imbierowicz who, along with her friend, Daulton, tragically passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning on their way home from a movie in November 2014. A broken exhaust pipe allowed deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter the car through the passenger air vents and the teens perished within minutes. Since then, Carly’s mother, Donna, has been a strong and steadfast advocate for raising awareness of the dangers and prevalence of carbon monoxide poisoning. With her support, the Carly Imbierowicz Foundation recently donated, with the help of First Alert and True Value, 102 CO detectors to Cochranville Fire Department
Dinniman said he remains committed to educating motorists, especially teens and students, about the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, which claimed the lives of young people in our area in recent years. He is a strong supporter and co-sponsor of Senate Bill 429, legislation that requires carbon monoxide detectors in college and university dorms, hotels and other lodging establishments, k-12 schools and child care facilities if the facility uses a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance or has an attached garage.
Earlier this year, Dinniman also sponsored a Senate Resolution 265 officially designating November 2019 as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.
Through Dinniman’s leadership, PennDOT also revised the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual to include important information about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
For more information, please visit www.cmiawareness.org.