Cheyenne Fire Rescue and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center are reminding people to follow a few rules when dealing with carbon monoxide and fire hazards over the winter months.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that often goes undetected with fatal results. it is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, and natural gas. Mechanical devices such as cars, lawn mowers. snow throwers and many others also produce carbon monoxide, which often causes people to pass out and die if it is breathed in. CFR offers the following advice in regard to carbon monoxide hazards:

Make sure all fuel burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is created when fuels burn incompletely and can cause illness and even death. Be sure to remove snow and ice and other debris around the outside outlet. Place a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home.

• If using a space heater, make sure the heater is on a solid, flat surface and keep them and their electrical cords away from things that can burn, high traffic areas, and doorways. Never plug your space heater into a extension cord or power strip. Plug directly into the wall outlet.

• When using a fuel burning space heater, allow the appliance to cool first and then refuel outside. Make sure to open a window to reduce carbon monoxide exposure and ensure proper ventilation. Ventless appliances are not allowed within the City of Cheyenne.

Fires are another safety hazard that people need to be aware of over the winter months.

Chimney fires are a threat, especially when creosote builds up in chimneys that are heavily used and/or haven't been cleaned for a while. CFR advises people who often heat their homes with fireplaces by to get their chimneys cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

Now is also a good time to make sure your heating system is in working order. Most experts urge the replacement of furnace filters at least every 90 days, possibly more often for some filters. You should also have your furnace checked by a heating professional and keep all flammable items at least three feet from your furnace.

And finally, never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

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