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Carbon Monoxide

Did you know?

  • An average of 150 people die each year from accidental, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • CO is called the invisible killer because the gas cannot been seen or smelled.

About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels, such as gasoline, natural gas and firewood. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of air-related poisoning in many countries.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

  • Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
  • Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
  • Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
  • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home outside separate sleeping areas.
  • When warming a vehicle, move it out of the garage. Do not run a fueled engine indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked. Clear snow away.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.