Have you tested your carbon monoxide detector recently? Carbon monoxide, the “invisible killer”, is an odorless, colorless gas that forms when a fuel source burns incompletely. In our homes, heating and cooking equipment are the most likely sources of carbon monoxide. However, vehicles or generators running inside of garages can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. CO poisoning doesn’t only occur due to exposure to large amounts over a short period of time. CO poisoning can also occur due to a small CO leak over a longer period of time. Additionally, people with physical conditions that limit their ability to use oxygen can be much more severely affected by lower CO concentrations. This group includes infants, pregnant women, and those with conditions such as emphysema, asthma, or heart disease.
Carbon Monoxide Safety & Symptoms
CO poisoning is not always easy to detect! Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are also symptoms that accompany many illnesses, like the flu or food poisoning. Some symptoms that you may experience include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing unconsciousness and death within just minutes of exposure. Here a just a few carbon monoxide safety tips:
- Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
- For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
- 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 — only use outside.