Carbon Monoxide Safety
Most of us know that Carbon Monoxide (CO) is dangerous. But do you know how to avoid a dangerous buildup of it in your home – or what to do if you experience CO poisoning?
Here are 10 things you need to know about CO to keep your family safe this heating season.
- Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced whenever you burn gas, wood, oil, or any other kind of fuel.
- CO is often called “The Silent Killer” – a buildup of CO in your home can cause illness, brain damage, or even death.
- Poor ventilation and damaged or improperly maintained equipment are the most common causes of CO buildup; these can result from:
- A damaged or poorly maintained heating system
- A blocked flue or vent
- Backdrafts near the heating appliance
- Overlong operation of unvented appliances
- Symptoms of CO poisoning worsen as exposure to the gas increases. Look for these signs:
- Mild Cases – Headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
- Moderate Cases – Severe headaches and disorientation
- Extreme Cases – Confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, and death
- If you or someone in your home is symptomatic,
- Leave the house and get fresh air immediately.
- Call 911 or your fire department (fire departments sometimes have a special number to call for CO emergencies – call yours to find out).
- Report your symptoms to your doctor.
- Get a professional to inspect to repair equipment before you use it again – NEVER try to service faulty heating equipment yourself!
- Install carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations when required by law. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for where to place them. Test them at least once a month, and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Perform routine maintenance every year on all fuel-burning appliances ¬– even new equipment.
- Never use a portable generator, grill, or other outdoor equipment inside your home.
- Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year; make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after you put the fire out.
- Learn and teach everyone in your home about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning and what to do if they experience them.