What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas you can not see, taste, or smell.  It is created when fuels such as kerosene, gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane burn incompletely.  Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage or near a window or door can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide which could be deadly.

What is the danger?

CO enters your body as you breathe.  CO poisoning can be confused with the flu, food poisoning, and other illnesses.  Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, and shortness of breath.  Extremely high levels of CO can cause death within minutes.  A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a long period of time or by a large amount of CO over a short period of time.

CO alarms in the home

Install CO alarms outside of sleeping areas and where recommended by manufactures.  Know the difference between smoke alarms and CO alarms.  Replace batteries in CO alarms twice a year and test once a month.  Most CO alarms have shorter life periods than smoke detectors and should be replaced according to manufacturers recommendations.

If the CO alarm sounds...

Move outdoors or by an open window or door.  Account for everyone in the home.  Call 9-1-1 from a fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive.

Reducing the carbon monoxide risk

Have all fuel burning home equipment inspected by a professional every year.  Keep dryer, stove, furnace, and fireplace vents clear of ice, snow, dirt, leaves, and other debris.  NEVER use the oven to heat your home.  Only use BBQ grills and generators outside, away from all doors, windows, and vent openings.  NEVER use them in the home or garage or near building openings