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Bad Week Highlights Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Updated: Thursday, July 31 2014, 06:30 PM CDT

The manager of a San Marcos fish hatchery made a deadly mistake. He stayed too long in a closed space running a gasoline-powered water pump. And across town, a worker remodeling a shopping center space was knocked out by fumes from his cement cutter.

Both of the men overcome by carbon monoxide fumes were professionals, experienced with the power tools they were using for their jobs. So what chance do amateurs have the first time they fire up a gasoline-powered tool? Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless and you don't have any way to sense it.

Fire fighters know a thing or two about carbon monoxide. It's spewed from the exhausts of small engines like the ones on generators people use when the lights go out during a storm. And then they ignore the symptoms.  

Palmer Buck, Battalion Chief with the Austin Fire Department says, "Certainly the subtle signs are headache, dizziness, nausea as you get more carbon monoxide parts per million in the air."

If you must operate a gas engine indoors, protect yourself by making sure there's plenty of fresh air. Service garages have the right idea. Since mechanics constantly run car engines, they open the doors wide in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter. They told me it's either that or die.

By Fred Cantu

Bad Week Highlights Carbon Monoxide Dangers


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