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Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. Since the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of the flu, victims often don’t realize the cause of their illness. CO symptoms can occur immediately or more gradually after long-term exposure.

Symptoms do not include a fever, but do include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Fainting

Customers most often come in contact with carbon monoxide after incomplete burning of natural gas, propane, kerosene, or any other fossil fuel for heat.

It’s important to know that you can’t see or smell CO. Only a CO detector can alert you to a problem. Health officials recommend having CO detectors on every level of your home and within ten feet of any sleeping areas. Just as you do with smoke detectors, check and replace batteries in CO detectors too.

CO comes from poorly functioning appliances, or appliances that are not vented or incorrectly vented. Appliances such as furnaces, space heaters, and even gas or charcoal grills all pose a threat. Outdoor equipment such as portable generators, heaters, and stoves, can create dangerous levels of CO in cabins and especially in hunting and fishing shacks.

In addition to watching out for appliances, never let a vehicle idle inside an attached garage, even with the door open. The CO from the exhaust can collect in the garage or go inside the home.

If you suspect CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Be sure to call for help before helping others. That way you don’t pass out before making that first call to alert emergency responders.

If exposure continues over a long period of time, CO poisoning can lead to brain damage or even death. If the symptoms are not accompanied by fever, if everyone in the family is ill, or if the symptoms disappear when you leave the house, it could be CO poisoning.