Officials warn of carbon monoxide poisoning in vehicles

Mono County Sheriff’s Office press release

The Inyo County Coroner’s Office and the Mono County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office would like to remind both residents and visitors of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from sitting within their running vehicles.

We tend to think of carbon monoxide poisoning in relation to residences and buildings with blocked or inefficient heater or water heater vents and similar circumstances. However, the danger presented by automobiles is very real. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that can make a person feel extremely sick, and if not adequately ventilated for fresh air to enter the cabin of the vehicle, can lead to death.

During this period of inclement winter weather (and at all times), we would like to remind residents and visitors of the dangers of sleeping or sitting in a running vehicle. Snow piled up around a running vehicle can increase the risk of the buildup of carbon monoxide within the cabin of the vehicle.

When very cold temperatures are experienced in the Eastern Sierra, those colder temperatures are often times accompanied by little to no outside air movement which can allow for the buildup of carbon monoxide within the cabin of the vehicle.

The smell of exhaust fumes will not necessarily be detected, whether or not the occupants in the vehicle are awake.

During these times of weather extremes, it can be very tempting to leave the vehicle running for the warmth provided by the vehicle’s heater. The Inyo County Coroner’s Office and Mono County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office wants you to remain safe as you work and enjoy this winter season, and that you don’t become a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning from your vehicle.


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