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      How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

      Carbon monoxide can be found all around us, but when it's in the right setting, it can be deadly.

      The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from carbon monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products.

      At the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, Director of the Environmental Health Division, Lynne Madison, explains how carbon monoxide is produced.

      "Carbon monoxide has a byproduct of the burning of carbon-based fuels. So people who burn wood or propane, natural gas in their homes, carbon monoxide is generated from the burning of that and gasoline also," said Madison.

      Carbon monoxide is toxic even at the lowest levels.

      Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:


      "It's very important that people with gas burning appliances make sure that they're properly vented, that they're serviced each year, and that they have a carbon monoxide detector within the home," Madison said.

      You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector from your local grocery store. They usually cost $20 or more. Once you plug it in, you'll hear a loud beep. That's how you know it's working. If the alarm beeps more than once, carbon monoxide is present within your home, so you'll want to leave immediately to get fresh air. Then call 911.

      "We stress to our customers, and we try to let people know in other forms of communication, that carbon monoxide poisoning is a health hazard and should not be taken lightly," said Tim Lubbers, marketing director and external affairs for Semco Energy.