Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by fuel-burning appliances. Because it is impossible to detect by your senses, CO can kill you before you are aware that it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. CO poisoning may cause irreversible damage to one’s health and requires immediate medical attention.
To protect your family from CO poisoning:
- Install at least one CO detector near each sleeping area in your home.
- If your CO detector goes off and you or someone in the home feels ill, you should immediately leave your home, call the fire department (911) and relay all the information including the number of people feeling ill and their symptoms.
- If your CO detector goes off and no one is feeling ill, you should open windows and doors to ventilate the home, shut off all fuel-burning appliances and call the fire department (911) to investigate the cause of the alarm. Never ignore the alarm! It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean CO is not present.
- Maintenance of a CO detector should be in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and should include monthly testing.
- Have a qualified professional check all fuel-burning appliances at least once a year.
- Never use your range or oven to heat your home.
- Never use your barbecue grill inside your home or garage.
- Never keep a vehicle running in your garage, even with the garage door open.