Last week, I had my yearly checkup on my heating system in my home, and I was told that my 1969 furnace had seen better days. I guess 40 years of service is pretty good.

But it did get me to thinking about what can happen with older units. Carbon monoxide is very dangerous, and installing a detector would be really smart.

If you do not have a detector already installed, I recommend installing one. Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, invisible gas, which is absorbed by the human body 200 times faster than oxygen. Carbon monoxide will cause people to fall into a deep sleep and cause death.

Gas fireplaces, gas stoves, barbecues, gas furnaces, automobiles, propane appliances and any other device that produces a flame will produce carbon monoxide.

The following are other safety items to remember:

* Make sure your heating system is kept clean and properly vented; have worn or defective parts replaced.

* Kerosene heaters are dangerous.

* Don't heat your home with a gas stove or oven.

* Do not use any gas-powered appliance or charcoal grill indoors.

* Open your garage door before starting your car and do not leave the motor running in an enclosed area. Clear exhaust pipes before starting a vehicle after it snows.

* The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning is headache. However, symptoms may also include dizziness, chest pain, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, people can become increasingly irritable, agitated and confused, eventually becoming lethargic and lapsing into unconsciousness.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, get the victim to fresh air immediately and open windows.

When the temperature drops, residents sometimes will use portable heating devices to help keep their homes warm. While many are eager to get their units up and running quickly, safe measures and precautions always should be taken to ensure a safe, warm home through the upcoming winter. Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February, second only to cooking equipment in home fires year-round.

Computer class Oct. 14

"E-mail, Internet, Searches" is the topic of the computer class from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 14. Garden City Community College instructor Carol Ham will give you instructions on how to put your computer to better use.

Sign up at the center or call 272-3620; space is limited.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS will meet at 8:30 a.m. Art class will meet at 10 a.m. Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing class starts at 8:30 a.m. Check-in/out for the Craft Shop is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. STEPS exercise classes are at 10:30 a.m. St. Catherine Hospital will offer a health services nurse to do screenings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m.

Saturday: The pool room will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday: No activities are planned.

Monday: Stretching exercises begin at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise classes are at 10:30 a.m. Humdinger Band will meet at 12:30 p.m. Double pinochle is played at 1 p.m. Finney County Transit Committee meets at 2 p.m. Upbeats will practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Craft Shop Committee meets at 10 a.m. Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. Duplicate bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. Finney County Committee on Aging will meet at 3:30 p.m. Bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Oct. 14: Foot clinic appointments begin at 8 a.m. (call the Senior Center for an appointment). Line dancing is at 8:30 a.m. Library check-in/out begins at 11 a.m. Pinochle is played at 1 p.m. The Sewing Group meets from 1 to 4 p.m. (bring your project and join the group). "E-mail, Internet and Searches" class is from 1 to 3 p.m. The Senior Citizens Association will host a dance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The band playing is "Moonshiners." Bring cookies for the break.

This week's menu

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Baked ham, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pineapple upside down cake.

Friday (Fresh Fruit Friday): Salisbury steak, tri-tators, fruit salad, lemon bars, whole wheat bread.

Monday: Hamburger with cheese, lettuce and tomato, tri-tators, peach slices.

Tuesday: Baked fish, au gratin potatoes, winter mixed veggies, peanut butter bars, fruit muffin.

Oct. 14: Roast beef, scalloped potatoes, green beans, Mandarin oranges, whole wheat bread.

Annual bazaar

Note your calendar! The 43rd Annual Senior Citizen Association Bazaar will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct, 17 at the Senior Center, 907 N. 10th St. It's a short two weeks away, so mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Visit the Senior Center of Finney County Web site at