It’s an important step to start a fall tradition safely, even before suiting up in blaze orange. Michigan Gas Utilities (MGU) is reminding deer hunters to thoroughly inspect the heating systems in their cabins before heading into the woods this week.

A heating system inspection is a simple precaution for hunters to take to avoid a dangerous or even fatal buildup of carbon monoxide. This invisible, odorless gas is caused by the improper burning or venting of fuel.

Hunters also can stay safe by installing carbon monoxide detectors to alert them if carbon monoxide begins to build up. Existing detectors should be checked to make sure they are working correctly.

How to avoid a buildup of carbon monoxide

Hunters can prevent carbon monoxide from being created by:

  • Checking heating vents, flues and chimneys to make sure they are clear. Remove any debris or animal nests from them.
  • Inspecting fuel-burning appliances.
  • Never using a portable electric generator indoors.

It’s also important to learn and recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • A sudden flu-like illness.
  • Dizziness, headaches or sleepiness.
  • Cherry-red lips and an unusually pale complexion.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • A fluttering heartbeat.

Hunters who suspect someone may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should move them into fresh air as quickly as possible and call 911. For more safety tips, visit the MGU website.