Take Steps to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, gas that can kill you before you are aware it is present. CO exposure is the leading cause of death due to poisoning in the United States. However, CO deaths are entirely preventable. Install CO alarms in your home and check them twice a year to make sure the batteries are working properly.

You risk CO poisoning when burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, kerosene, coal, and gasoline near enclosed or occupied spaces, or under attached roofs.

  • Run generators far away from buildings.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for warmth.
  • Never use a charcoal grill or a barbeque grill in enclosed spaces, car ports or covered porches.
  • Start and run gasoline-powered mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws away from buildings.
  • Never use a stove or fireplace unless it is properly installed and vented.
  • Never run your car, truck or motorcycle inside a garage that is attached to a house or in a detached garage with the garage door shut.

Early signs of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or confusion. CO poisoning should be suspected if symptoms occur or get worse shortly after turning on a fuel-burning device, more than one person in the area becomes sick at the same time, or if those who are sick feel better after getting away from the area.

If you suspect CO poisoning, have everyone leave the area to get fresh air immediately. Contact the fire department and the gas company or heating contractor. Schedule annual maintenance on home heating systems, including furnaces, fireplaces, chimneys and other heat sources.

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