An expected 670,000 licensed deer hunters will soon take up residency in their part-time shelters. Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) advises that heating systems in those cabins, campers, tents or shanties should be carefully inspected to ensure proper working condition and proper venting. A build-up of carbon monoxide (CO) can result if heating equipment is not operating efficiently and not vented properly.
CO is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas and can be produced by improper burning and venting of fossil fuels such as natural gas, wood, propane, gasoline or kerosene. If levels of CO build up in a confined area, they can cause death for occupants.
WPS recommends having a carbon monoxide and smoke detector in each shelter, particularly where hunters sleep. Replace old batteries with new batteries in both CO and smoke detectors and be sure to test them to make sure they produce an audible warning sound.
Initial signs of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, confusion and general flu-like symptoms. Fresh air is immediately required, so windows and doors should be opened and occupants should go outside. If there are serious health concerns, dial 9-1-1 and request immediate assistance.
Carbon monoxide buildup is the most common cause of fatal poisoning in the state. Victims overtaken by CO poisoning can die in their sleep.
Check chimneys and vents that can get plugged by animal or bird nests, leaves or snow and ice.
Small propane heaters and stoves, kerosene, wood burning and charcoal grills also produce CO when not vented properly.
If using a portable heater, make sure to abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe operation. Those directions for safe operations are included with each unit purchased.
Recent high winds may have caused some natural pruning in heavily forested areas, meaning potentially dangerous situations involving broken tree limbs and power lines may have resulted. If anyone comes across a potentially dangerous situation, contact WPS 24-hour Emergency Service at (800) 450-7240 to report the location and situation.
Hunters also should not shoot near power lines or electrical equipment or substations. A stray shot can cause damage and potentially interrupt electrical service to an area.
Portable electrical generators that use a gasoline engine should never be used inside a residence or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Most manufacturers suggest using portable generators more than 20 feet from a residence.