Carbon monoxide (CO) is a fatal, colorless, and odorless gas. It is created when a variety of fuels, such as coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas, are burned partially. CO is also produced by vehicles, lawnmowers, power washers, portable generators, and other items driven by internal combustion engines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that hundreds of Americans die each year as a result of unintended carbon monoxide poisoning. Over 20,000 people go to the emergency room, and over 4,000 more end up in the hospital. Be sure to keep these safety tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in mind to protect your family or share with those around you:
-Do have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
-Do install a battery-operated or battery back up CO detector in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
-Do seek prompt medical help if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
-If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
-DO NOT use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
-DO NOT run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
-DO NOT burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
-DO NOT hear your house with a gas oven.
-DO NOT use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance.
What should you do when the CO alarm sounds?
Never ignore an alarming CO alarm! It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. If the alarm signal sounds do not try to find the source of the CO:
● Immediately move outside to fresh air.
● Call your emergency services, fire department, or 911.
● After calling 911, do a headcount to check that all persons are accounted for.
● DO NOT reenter the premises until the emergency services responders have given you permission.
● If the source of the CO is determined to be a malfunctioning appliance, DO NOT operate that appliance
until it has been properly serviced by trained personnel.
“Prevention Guidance | Carbon Monoxide Poisoning | CDC.” Prevention Guidance | Carbon Monoxide Poisoning | CDC, 14 Dec. 2018, www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm#:~:text=Don%27t%20run%20a%20car,window%2C%20door%2C%20or%20vent.
“Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet | CPSC.gov.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/carbon-
monoxide/carbon-monoxide-fact-sheet. Accessed 28 Oct. 2022.