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State Fire Marshal: Be aware of carbon monoxide

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North Dakota’s Fire Marshal says two recent incidents have shown the need for people to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Moorhead, seven members of a family died earlier this week from carbon monoxide poisoning. And in Fargo, two residents of an apartment building had to be taken to the ER because of high levels of carbon monoxide.

"Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion, or when a gas or fuel burns incompletely," said Fire Marshal Doug Nelson. "The common sources are going to be fuel-burning appliances, which can include your furnace, your water heater, gas stoves."

Nelson said the common symptoms of CO poisoning are nausea, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Nelson said in North Dakota, there are roughly 200 reported incidents of high carbon monoxide levels every year, and nationally, there’s an average of 150 deaths from it.

His advice?

"Make sure you have carbon monoxide alarms installed, working and properly connected," Nelson said. "They should be located outside each sleeping area, and on each level."

Nelson said it's important to test those alarms monthly.

"We recommend replacing replacing the batteries twice a year," Nelson said.

Also, nelson said you should follow your manufacturer's recommendations for service maintenance of fuel-burning appliances.

In the Moorhead case, investigators found carbon monoxide alarms were in storage areas, without batteries.

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