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Consumers Energy, DTE Energy Offer Lifesaving Tips To Protect Against 'Silent Killer' Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With fall's colder temperatures across Michigan signaling the start of the deadliest season for carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings, Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan's two largest energy providers are urging residents to protect themselves against toxic gas known as the "silent killer" because it is colorless, odorless and tasteless.  

Consumers Energy Logo (PRNewsFoto/Consumers Energy)

"Carbon monoxide can be deadly and is the leading cause of unintentional poisoning in the United States and we applaud Gov. Snyder for declaring Nov. 5 – 11 Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week in Michigan," said Charles Crews, vice president of gas operations for Consumers Energy.

CO poisoning occurs when appliances and consumer products are improperly operated or vented and fuel does not burn properly – including oil, propane, natural gas, wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene and diesel. December, January and February are when the most carbon monoxide poisonings occur because furnaces are operating and buildings are more airtight.

"DTE urges families to protect themselves against CO poisoning by installing an Underwriters Laboratory (UL)-approved audible carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Businesses should install carbon monoxide alarms in main areas to protect their employees and customers," said Dan Brudzynski, vice president of Gas Sales & Supply for DTE Gas.  "We also recommend interconnecting all CO alarms, so that when one alarm goes off, they all will sound."

"At Consumers Energy safety is our top priority. We are committed to helping families stay safe by sharing information to prevent this life-threatening hazard that can occur almost anywhere – including homes, businesses, RVs, hunting blinds and when using portable generators," Crews said.

Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often flu-like and can include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and stinging or burning of the eyes. Prolonged exposure can cause loss of consciousness and even death.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms and suspects carbon monoxide poisoning should leave the affected home or building immediately, call 9-1-1 for medical attention and stay out of the building until the problem has been corrected. Other important tips to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Inspect furnaces annually, and have regular tune-ups performed by a qualified service professional.
  • Change or clean furnace air filters at least once a month (more if pets are present) during the heating season.
  • Inspect chimneys and vent pipes regularly to be sure they are free of obstructions like leaves and animal/bird nests.
  • Keep generators at least 25 feet away from enclosed areas and away from doors, windows and fresh air intakes. Never use a generator in a basement, enclosed garage or covered porch.
  • Vehicles, power lawn equipment and snow blowers should only be operated where there is adequate ventilation, never in enclosed spaces.
  • Never use gas stoves or charcoal grills for heating a room. Never leave a supplemental heater or fireplace unattended.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. 

CONSUMERS ENERGY: Learn more about carbon monoxide:

Learn more about natural gas and electric safety:

Learn to spot the signs and stay safe:  

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SOURCE Consumers Energy

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