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It's Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, here's how to stay safe

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that kills more than 400 people and sends about 50,000 people to the hospital every year in the U.S.

YORK, Pa. — It's the beginning of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, and local fire departments are making sure houses in their communities are safe.

The colorless, odorless and tasteless gas kills more than 400 people and sends about 50,000 people to the hospital every year in the United States.

This week, fire departments and safety educators are reminding people to take precautions to protect themselves against carbon monoxide.

York Area United Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Matt Arnold gave a few easy tips people can do right away.

"Try to avoid it, and the way you can do that is making sure any fuel-burning appliance that you have is installed properly by a licensed installation professional and maintained and cleaned properly,” said Arnold. “That would include vents for your hot water heater, if you have a fireplace, making sure your fireplace is cleaned and your flue is clean, not running those portable generators or anything like that close to your home and avoiding a carbon monoxide issue.”

Arnold also said people should make sure they have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of their home.

If people don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, they can detectors at any hardware store. 

Another thing to know is that if people hear an alarm with three beeps, it's a smoke detector, while an alarm with four beeps is a carbon monoxide alarm.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in people often mirror those of the common flu and include things like headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. 

In pets, initial symptoms include nausea/vomiting, dizziness, or labored breathing.

If people suspect there is carbon monoxide in their house, they should leave immediately and call 911.

While checking carbon monoxide detectors, it’s a good idea to check the batteries in smoke detectors as well.

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