Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause serious illness and death. Any device that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide, or CO. The effects of CO exposure vary from person to person depending on the concentration and length of exposure. At lower levels, CO exposure symptoms include headaches, dizziness and nausea. At higher levels of exposure, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home because it's impossible to see, smell or taste the toxic fumes.
Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
- Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector if your home's appliances, furnace or fireplace burn a solid fuel, liquid or gas. Be sure to replace the battery when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
- Have your heating system, water heater and any natural gas, oil or propane burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician once a year.
- Do not use a camp stove, hibachi or charcoal grill inside your house or garage or near a window.
- Never use a gas stove or gas range to heat your home.
- Never use a gas-powered generator inside your home or attached garage or near an open window.
- Do not run a car or truck inside a garage attached to a house, even if you leave the door open.
- Have fireplaces, chimneys and flues checked and cleaned by a qualified professional every year.
If Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off
- If anyone inside is displaying symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately evacuate everyone from the home.
- Call 9-1-1 and report to the dispatcher what happened and the number of people feeling ill.
- Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department official.
- If no one inside is feeling ill, silence the alarm.
- Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion.
- Open windows and doors to ventilate the house.
- Call a qualified professional to locate the source of carbon monoxide and repair it.
For information about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning after a hurricane or other emergency, visit http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/cofacts.asp
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, visit http://www.cdc.gov/co/