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News

November 02, 2017

Trego County Officials Report Rise in Carbon Monoxide Cases

Trego County Emergency Management officials, in a Nov. 1 Facebook post, said Trego Lemke Memorial Hospital has seen an increase in patients with carbon monoxide symptoms or poisoning in the last week. 

Midwest Energy is encouraging WaKeeney residents, as well as Trego County residents hit by the Aug. 10 hailstorm, to inspect their natural gas furnace and water heater vents, to ensure they’re not dented or smashed flat.  Any damage or obstruction makes it difficult or impossible for appliances to safely vent deadly carbon monoxide exhaust gas, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

A photo of four damaged rooftop gas exhaust vents.  Damaged or covered gas exhaust vents prevent carbon monoxide from properly venting, and can lead to a deadly buildup of CO inside the home.  Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and only a carbon monoxide detector can alert homeowners to its presence.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates 400 Americans die in their homes from unintentional carbon monoxide exposure.
Damaged or covered gas exhaust vents prevent carbon monoxide from properly venting, and can lead to a deadly buildup of CO inside the home. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and only a carbon monoxide detector can alert homeowners to its presence. The Centers for Disease Control estimates 400 Americans die in their homes from unintentional carbon monoxide exposure.

“Anytime you restrict or plug a gas exhaust vent, that carbon monoxide has nowhere else to go but inside your home,” said Roger Mettlen, Midwest Energy’s Gas Operations Manager for the Hays District, which includes WaKeeney.  “Building code and appliance manufactures are specific on how big vent pipes need to be for a reason, and anytime they’re damaged that can create a serious, deadly condition.”  

With colder temperatures forecast over the next 10 days, residents are encouraged to go outside and from the ground, visually inspect their gas exhaust vents on their roof.  If the vents are dented or smashed flat, contact a licensed roofer or plumbing contractor to make repairs as quickly as possible.  If anyone experiences the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, fatigue, nausea, confusion and blurred vision, leave the home immediately and seek medical attention or call 911. 

Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless gas that is a by-product of combustion.  The best way to guard against CO poisoning is with a carbon monoxide detector, available for about $30 at most hardware and department stores.  Some CO detectors also double as smoke detectors, offering additional safety. 

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