Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killerpublished in Totally Wired winter 2009-2010 edition
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane, burn incompletely.
Called the “silent killer” because you can’t see or smell it, CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses.
Protect your family with a carbon monoxide detector connected to your security system that will contact the monitoring station when CO is detected. Graphic source: www.pasafehomes.org
Carbon Monoxide Safety
- Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in. When using a fireplace, open the flue for adequate ventilation. Never use your oven to heat your home.
- CO alarms should be installed 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. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- 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.