WASHBURN COUNTY -- As we head into hunting season, the Washburn County Health Department is reminding hunters to take action to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Hunters often use generators and wood-burning stoves to heat their cabins, hunting blinds, or trailers. Just as you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, hunters need a properly working detector in their shelters,” said Cheri Nickell, Washburn County Health Officer.
On average, carbon monoxide poisoning sends about 500 Wisconsinites to the emergency room each year, according to data from the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. These trips to the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning are preventable when people are prepared.
To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. While it’s best to purchase a detector that plugs in and has a battery back-up, for shelters without electricity, there are battery-only options. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware and big box stores for $20-50. Replace your detector every five years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Properly vent and maintain heaters that burn fuel. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Make sure generators, internal combustion engines, or heaters that burn fuel are vented and properly maintained. Ensure that snow and/or leaves are not blocking exhaust vents.
- Generators that power your home or cabin should be run at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from any structures. Never run a generator in the home, shelter, tent, or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide include headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. If you think you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
Visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website for more information about carbon monoxide poisoning or call the Washburn County Health Department at 715-635-4400.