City of Yakima Fire Department Warns People of Carbon Monoxide D - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Yakima Fire Department Warns People of Carbon Monoxide Dangers

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YAKIMA, WA - It's getting colder and colder outside. Chances are you're turning on your fireplace, maybe even warming up your car in the garage every morning, all of which can put you and your loved ones at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. 

We caught up with the City of Yakima Fire Department to learn how we can prevent CO related incidents. 

Detecting carbon monoxide is nearly impossible because it's odorless, it's colorless and it's a tasteless gas that spreads quickly.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports every year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning and more than 20,000 visit the emergency room. Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, especially infants, the elderly and people with chronic heart disease and/or breathing problems. As far as the source of CO, it's present any time you burn fuel in things like fireplaces, gas ranges and furnaces.

Jeff Pfaff, Fire Prevention Officer tells us the danger is especially high when it comes to warming up cars and trucks inside the garage. 

"You could be sitting in your home and today's cars are pretty quiet so you want to make sure that everything is shut off. And it can get inside your house. Any small little area, under the door, through windows, it doesn't dissipate and it gets in there pretty quickly," said Pfaff. 

He adds since 2009, there's been 12 deaths linked to cars with the push-start function. He also tells us that around the Yakima Valley, he's seen people bring in generators inside their homes to run power, a big risk when it comes to CO poisoning. People also bring in BBQ's and even turn on gas appliances to add some extra heat. 

"When you're running anything that has a fossil fuel, that's going to put off carbon monoxide. And so you just put your family at a greater risk by doing that," said Pfaff. 
The fire department says having a carbon monoxide detector is crucial to prevent CO poisoning. They emphasize not painting over it and placing it 5 to 6 feet off the ground. The most common is a plug-in detector that comes with a battery backup.