Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that is produced by burning wood, coal, charcoal, natural gas, gasoline, propane oil, methane, kerosene, and other common fuels. In the home, any heating or cooking equipment that burned fuel is a potential source of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage or near a window or door can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
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 a 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.
IF THE CO ALARM SOUNDS….
• Move outdoors or by an open window or door. Account for everyone in the home.
• Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from the fresh-air location. Remain at the fresh-air location until emergency personnel arrive to help you.
• If the alarm’s trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries.
REDUCING THE CARBON MONOXIDE RISK
• Have your fuel-burning home equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, wood and coal stoves, space and portable heaters) inspected by a professional every year.
• Keep dryer, stove, furnace, and fireplace vents clear of ice, snow, dirt, leaves, and other debris.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Only use barbecue grills and generators outside, away from all doors, windows, and vent openings. Never use them in the home or garage near building openings.
CO ALARMS IN YOUR HOUSE
• Install CO alarms that have the label of a recognized test laboratory.
• Install a CO alarm in central locations outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where required by laws, codes, or standards.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. CO mixes with air, so where to place the alarm on the wall is not critical. If you are using a combination smoke/CO alarm, the alarm must be installed according to the recommendations for smoke alarms.
• For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
• Be sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and the sound of a CO alarm.
• Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.