Carbon Monoxide Alarms
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide or CO is an invisible, odorless gas that is produced by burning wood, coal, charcoal, natural gas, gasoline, propane, oil, methane, kerosene, and other common fuels. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burns fuel are potential sources of carbon Monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage or near a window or door can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
What is the danger?
- CO enters yours body through breathing.
- CO poisoning can be confused with the flu, food poisoning, and other illness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, light headedness, and shortness of breathe.
- Extremely high levels of CO can cause death within minutes. 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 short period of time.
If the CO alarm sounds.
- Move outdoors or by a open window or door. Account for everyone in the home.
- Call the fire department from the fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to help you.
- If the alarms trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries.
Reducing the CO Risk.
- Have your fuel burning home equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, wood and coal stoves, space and portable heaters) inspected by a professional every year.
- Keep dryer, stove, furnace, and fireplace vents clear of ice, snow, dirt, leaves, and other debris.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Only use BBQ grills and generators outside, away from all doors, windows, and vent openings. Never use them in the home or garage or near building openings.
CO Alarms in the Home
- Install CO alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Install a CO alarm in central locations outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations required by laws, codes, and standards.
- Follow the manufacturers instructions for replacement CO mixes with air, so where to place the alarm on the wall is not critical. If you are using a combination smoke-CO alarm, the alarm must be installed according to recommendations for smoke alarms.
- For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds they all sound.
- Call your local fire departments non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds. Post that number by telephones.
- Be sure everyone knows the difference between the sound of the CO alarm and smoke alarm.
- Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace alarms to according to manufacturers instructions.