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Here’s what Lehigh Valley residents should know about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it.

two days before Christmas As temperatures across the Lehigh Valley plunged into extreme cold,a power outage occurred at a man’s home in Northampton County.

To power his appliances, 71-year-old Joel S. Kotulka lit a generator in his garage.

According to Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lycek, Kotulka was found unresponsive on Christmas Day in the garage of his home on Block 300 of Old Allentown Road in Bushkill Township, where the generator was running. . His death was attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning and was ruled an accident.

The valley has experienced above-average temperatures over the past week, The weather is expected to become frigid againAs residents prepare to beat the heat, officials are spreading awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and educating residents on how best to avoid accidental death.

480 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, and another 15,200 are sent to hospital emergency rooms, according to the WHO. american red crossInhaling gas can cause shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, or headaches. At high levels, you can die within minutes.

“One thing everyone can do, and hopefully everyone does, is preach about carbon monoxide detectors,” said Allentown Fire Chief John Christopher. “Carbon monoxide itself is colorless, odorless and tasteless. The only way to know if an incident has occurred is if you have a detector for it.”

The end of last year, 32 adults and children treated at Valley hospital after carbon monoxide leak At the Happy Smiles Learning Center in Allentown. Testing showed a gas concentration of 700 ppm. This is more than three times his threshold for possible death. The leak was due to a heating malfunction exacerbated by a blocked vent.

The day care owner was reached by phone on Thursday, declined to comment and referred all inquiries to an attorney.

In the past seven years, there have been fewer than 12 accidental deaths related to carbon monoxide poisoning in Lehigh County, said county coroner Daniel A. Buglio. Although rare, cases of accidental deaths from carbon monoxide toxicity often occur in the Valley during the cold months.

During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Lower Mackenzie Township woman dies From smoke from a portable gas generator left in your garage. before that, A 63-year-old man died in South Carolina in 2008 After an exterior plastic canopy on a masonry project backed up carbon monoxide from a hot water heater into a hotel in Upper Mackenzie Township. His four other guests felt sick.

“We’re trying to show people that carbon monoxide deaths are highly preventable,” Buglio said. “And I think the local fire department, emergency management, all Lehigh County agencies are very good at doing that.”

Preparation and maintenance go a long way in preventing carbon monoxide deaths, experts say. It is important to check your appliances and associated vents, chimneys, and exhaust vents annually.

“Your precautions are in preparation,” said Christopher.

Purchasing and installing carbon monoxide detectors is often the first step a resident can take to prevent fatalities, but maintaining those detectors is also important.

“All detectors have a test button on the test switch and should be tested monthly to ensure they are working properly,” says Christopher. “I think we tend to forget that because of the long battery life.”

There are also detector options with cost-effective 10-year sealed batteries, he said. The renter should check the lease to see if the landlord is responsible for maintaining the detector.

It is also important to be aware of recalls and detectors that are found not to function properly.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned consumers in September: HECOPRO Digital Display Carbon Monoxide Detector Failed to detect toxic gas.

According to the agency, “a carbon monoxide sensitivity test performed on the detector warns when exposed to a predetermined concentration of carbon monoxide (400 ppm) in violation of relevant safety standards. “If a consumer installed a CO detector that did not warn of the presence of carbon monoxide, and carbon monoxide entered the Without warning, injury or death is very likely.”

Officials have urged residents who have these detectors in their homes to dispose of them and install new detectors.

Detectors are cheaper than they were 20 years ago, so firefighters are now being asked for false alarms more often, Christopher said. But he’s fine with it.

“The reason is that more people are getting detectors,” he said. I just became.”

Authorities recommend installing carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your living space. For single households, Christopher recommends placing it near the bedroom or somewhere that will wake sleeping residents.

He also explained that when using generators in bad weather, placement is important to ensure proper ventilation.

“They have exhaust. They’re going to keep carbon monoxide out,” said Christopher. “So be careful where you put it.”

He said it’s best to evacuate if a carbon monoxide detector trips in your home.

“Solving the problem, hopefully mitigating the problem, finding the source of the problem, shutting down the source of the problem, whether it be an appliance or a heating unit,” says Christopher. “But you’ll want to treat this like you would a smoke detector. Leave your home to a safe place and call us. We’ll come out and do our thing.” .”

To contact Morning Call reporter Molly Bilinsky: mbilinski@mcall.com.

https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-nws-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-what-to-know-20230109-iblnnk5qprabxjarfz6jm2owem-story.html#ed=rss_www.mcall.com/arcio/rss/category/news/local/ Here’s what Lehigh Valley residents should know about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it.

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