Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly
You can't see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Even more die from CO produced by idling cars. Fetuses, infants, elderly people, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. Be safe. Practice the DO's and DON'Ts of carbon monoxide.
CO Poisoning Symptoms
Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. You can even die if these levels persist for a long time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause.
Prevent CO Poisoning
Play it Safe - If you experience symptoms that you think could be from CO poisoning:
- CALL 911 or your local emergency number.
- GET FRESH AIR IMMEDIATELY. Open doors and windows turn off combustion appliances and leave the house.
- DO NOT re-enter the premises until cleared by emergency personnel.
- GO TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM and tell the physician you suspect CO poisoning. If CO poisoning has occurred, it can often be diagnosed by a blood test done soon after exposure.
Safety Tips Follow these guidelines to help keep your family safer.
- Install CO alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home including the basement. The CO alarm can warn you if too much CO is in your home.
- Keep CO alarms clear of dust and debris.
- Ensure CO alarms are plugged all the way into a working outlet, or if battery operated, have working batteries.