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Usually a home repair solves a problem or prevents a hazard. When it comes to Arkansas roofs battered by this year’s high winds, storm debris or hail, however, the repair can create a potentially deadly problem.
Toxic carbon monoxide, or CO, an odorless, colorless gas, may be trapped in a home by damaged venting systems, endangering the people and animals that live there, warn officials from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning, while thousands visit emergency rooms and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The chances of exposure increase in a home that has been storm damaged or one in which repairs were not made correctly, say recovery experts from ADEM and FEMA.
Venting systems are designed to channel CO and other possibly dangerous gases from home living spaces to the outdoors. The systems run from a home furnace, water heater, cooking range or other appliances through the attic and the roof into the open air, where the gases harmlessly disperse.
Venting systems can fail, however, if the roof vents are:
Arkansans can prevent this potential hazard by following these tips from the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC:
A handout on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning during disaster recovery is available from the Arkansas Department of Health, along with other materials on healthy living, at www.healthy.arkansas.gov. Emergency preparedness information is posted online at www.ready.gov.