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Governor Declares Carbon Monoxide Safety And Awareness Week; Urges Protection Against CO Poisoning



Governor Declares Carbon Monoxide Safety And Awareness Week; Urges Protection
                             Against CO Poisoning

PR Newswire

JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 1, 2012

JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Falling temperatures signal to
Michigan residents that heating season has arrived, and with it comes an
increased risk of carbon monoxide dangers.

That's why Gov. Rick Snyder has joined with Consumers Energy and declared Oct.
28 – Nov. 3 "Michigan Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week."

Consumers Energy reminds home and business owners to take preventive measures
now that will provide protection against carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas
that is colorless, odorless and tasteless and can be produced when appliances
aren't operating or venting properly.

"The majority of carbon monoxide poisonings occur during the fall and winter
heating season," said Zach DeFrain, Consumers Energy program manager.  "As one
of Michigan's largest utility providers, our goal is to ensure Michigan
residents have factual information about carbon monoxide poisoning so they can
take steps to protect themselves and their families from this invisible
killer," DeFrain said.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by the incomplete combustion of fuels
including oil, propane, natural gas, coal, wood, kerosene, gasoline, diesel
fuel and charcoal. Deadly amounts of carbon monoxide can be produced by
defective or poorly vented appliances that use these fuels such as furnaces,
fireplaces and wood stoves, as well as generators and vehicles. The American
Medical Association reports that CO contributes to more than 2,000 poisoning
deaths every year in the United States.

Exposure to CO poisoning can trigger symptoms that appear flu-like, including
fatigue, headaches and general sick feeling, sometimes accompanied by nausea
and vomiting. Other possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include
dizziness, shortness of breath, and stinging or burning of the eyes.
 Prolonged exposure to CO can cause disorientation, convulsions,
unconsciousness and ultimately death.  

The best defense against CO problems is an audible carbon monoxide detector
that meets or exceeds Underwriters Laboratory standards and will sound if
dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present in a home or building. 

"There's no doubt that the most important way to protect against CO poisoning
is by installing an audible CO alarm.  Theses devices are every bit as
important to have in residences and other buildings as smoke detectors,"
DeFrain added.

Underwriters Laboratory and manufacturers also recommend that any detector be
replaced when its warranty expires.

Another good way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning is to make sure
all fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and maintained. Furnaces
should be cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician. Finally,
venting on furnaces, water heaters and chimneys should be inspected
periodically to be sure that animal nests or other debris do not interfere
with proper ventilation. 

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides
natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan's 10 million residents
in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information on Consumers Energy, please visit our Website at
www.consumersenergy.com

For more information about CO, visit:
http://www.consumersenergy.com/content.aspx?id=1483

CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) FACTS

  o Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer because it is invisible
    -- odorless, colorless and tasteless. 
  o CO is a toxic gas produced by the incomplete burning of fuels including
    oil, propane, coal, wood, natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, charcoal and
    kerosene.  Faulty or inadequately vented appliances that use these fuels
    -- such as furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, charcoal grills, kerosene
    heaters as well as gasoline-powered generators and vehicles -- can produce
    deadly amounts of CO. 
  o Symptoms of CO often mimic the "flu" and include headaches, nausea,
    fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and stinging or burning of the
    eyes.  Prolonged exposure can cause disorientation, convulsions,
    unconsciousness (coma) and eventually death.
  o Infants, the elderly, people with respiratory problems and pets are
    especially susceptible to CO poisoning.  When CO is breathed into the
    body, carbon monoxide combines with the blood and prevents it from
    absorbing oxygen. 
  o Some warning signs of CO can include stale/stuffy air, excessive moisture
    on windows and walls and soot buildup around appliance vents.
  o CO has a half-life of four hours which means CO can cause damage to
    someone for many hours after being exposed. 
  o The World Health Organization (WHO) reports levels as low as 30 ppm as
    causing health problems in much of the population. Many detectors on the
    market will not warn of levels that low or transitory levels that could be
    much higher. 

HOW TO PREVENT CO POISONING

  o Make sure fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and have them
    maintained regularly.  Consumers Energy recommends that furnaces be
    cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified service person.  Visually
    inspect chimneys on an annual basis as well. 
  o Keep flues and chimneys clean and free of debris.
  o Repair rusted or pitted flue pipes leading from your furnace and water
    heater to the chimney.
  o Keep the furnace air intake clear and unobstructed.  If your furnace is
    housed in a small room, make sure it gets adequate fresh air by installing
    louvered doors or ventilating grills.
  o Never use a gas range or unvented space heater (propane, gas, oil or
    kerosene) to heat your home.
  o Never operate a generator in the home, garage, basement or any other
    enclosed area.
  o Start lawn mowers and snow blowers outside, not inside the garage.
  o Never run your vehicle in the garage, even with the garage door open.
  o Never use a barbecue grill inside your home, on an enclosed porch or in
    your garage.
  o Install an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved CO detector with a
    powerful audible alarm.  The best models plug into a standard electrical
    outlet and have important features such as a rechargeable battery backup
    (in case of a power outage), a digital display of the amount of CO
    currently present, a memory function that tracks the highest level of CO
    recorded over a period of time and an end of life feature that alerts the
    customer when it should be replaced.

SOURCE Consumers Energy

Website: http://www.consumersenergy.com
Contact: Media: Terry DeDoes, +1-517-374-2159, or Dan Bishop, +1-517-788-2395
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