Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuel (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. 

In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. 

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 shorter amount of time.

Be Proactive

  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location, outside sleeping areas, on every level of a home, and in other locations where required by laws and codes. Interconnect alarms, if possible, so if one alarm sounds they all will. Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound the alarms make.
  • Choose a CO alarm that is UL-listed.
  • Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries and replace. If it still sounds, call the fire department.

Safe Habits

  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — use outside only.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • When using a fireplace, open the flue for adequate ventilation.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.

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