Carbon monoxide concerns during winter months

Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 6:12 PM CST
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The National Fire Protection Association says carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 people a year.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels like gasoline, propane, natural gas and oil.

"We have appliances that are gas fired in our homes, we've got furnaces, water heaters, attached garages with vehicles and small engines," said Bismarck fire marshal Owen Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons says a couple of the most common culprits are improper ventilation or heating equipment that hasn't been serviced properly.

"That can cause that back up of carbon monoxide into the home which can produce dangerous levels within the home," said Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons says this back up may cause carbon monoxide poisoning which produce flu-like symptoms or nausea, dizziness, vomiting, unconsciousness and even death.

"What we suggest is people install CO detection in their homes," he said.

Fitzsimmons says it's also important to make sure any ventilation on your roof is clear.

"Grab a snow rake, and from the ground try and get the snow off as best you can around the eaves," said Tyler Perry, Better Roofing & Contracting owner.

Perry says if you keep your roof clear, it will also prevent leaks from ice dam build up.

"The other thing we got to really worry about in our climate is your sewer vent pipes freezing over," said Perry.

Both Fitzsimmons and Perry say it is important to keep up to date with your home to stay safe.

For more information on carbon monoxide go to

Perry says you should hire a professional if you have excessive snow on your roof, but if you choose to do it yourself, be very careful.