Here we are looking at the fourth major storm so far this winter (Jan 26-28, Feb 2, Feb 9, Feb 14-15, if you’re keeping score). We’re all becoming pros at this, but it’s still a good chance for a reminder of important safety issues as we dig out, and prepare for bitterly cold weather for the next couple days.
That’s CO, not CO2, a byproduct of incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, and an orderless, colorless killer if it accumulates indoors. If your home has a gas or oil furnace, a gas stove, or you drive a car (that’s not electric), you need to be aware of CO safety.
Clear Your Vents
Heating system vents and automobile exhaust pipes that are blocked by snow can lead to carbon monoxide buildup and poisoning. Be sure to clear snow from around automobile exhaust pipes before starting the engine. Facilities Services is clearing heating system vents on campus. Students living off-campus may need to clear the heating vents at their residence, in addition to steps and sidewalks. Check with your landlord if you are unsure where these vents are located.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
While you’re at it, make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, along with smoke detectors. Tufts buildings have smoke and CO detectors that send a signal to Tufts Police. Off-campus properties should have a CO detection to comply with Nicole’s Law, named for 7-year-old Nicole Garofalo who died in January 2005 when a heating vent in her house was blocked by snow drifts, allowing carbon monoxide to accumulate in her home.
Tonight we may see the coldest temperatures so far this year, as low as -4°F with windchill as low as -30°F! Take proper precautions to protect yourself:
Wear layers of lose-fitting clothing;
Minimize time outdoors – at -30°F windchill, frostbite can occur in only 30 minutes; and
Tufts University is here to help its students. If you find yourself in a fix and need help, contact Tufts Police on the non-emergency number, 617-627-3030. They’ll help out, or will help put you in touch with a student affairs professional.