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As Winter Kicks Into Gear, Time To Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Along with the cold temperatures, winter in Minnesota brings higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

When the furnaces turn on, the carbon monoxide detectors should get a checkup. Joe Young is manager at Settergren's of Linden Hills hardware store.

"Sold a lot this year, recently. Just the time of year. They always pick up this time of year," Young said.

He recommends detectors with digital displays.

"If there's five parts per million, which is an allowable amount, it's gonna alarm at that and let you know so you can investigate it and not have to run out into the cold in the middle of the night," Young said.

Carbon Monoxide Detector
(credit: CBS)

The first signs of carbon monoxide exposure includes headache and breathlessness with exercise. The young and elderly are most susceptible, according to Deputy Chief Roy Mokosso with the St. Paul Fire Department.

"Anybody who is possibly intoxicated or might be asleep, those are situations where they would not undergo any of the symptoms," Mokosso said.

He recommends getting your furnace and chimney checked every year. If you're like a lot of Minnesotans and warm up your car in the winter, do it the right way.

"They should definitely make sure they either pull the car out of the garage or at minimum have the garage doors open," Mokosso said.

It's better to be safe than sorry.

"You show up on some of these calls and people feel silly calling because they have a concern and they're just, you know, not sure if it's a real threat and concern. And that's our job," Mokosso said. "That's our job to do. So we'll show up, we'll evaluate patients. People should not hesitate to call."

The fire department also says that propane or gas heaters should not be used in structures like ice fishing houses or mobile homes.

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