WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)?
- CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poisonous gas that can be fatal when inhaled
- CO is often referred to as the "invisible killer"
- CO inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen
- CO is produced when fuels such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil or wood is burned
WHERE DOES CO COME FROM?
- Any fuel-burning appliance that is malfunctioning or improperly installed
- Furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, stoves, fireplaces and portable generator
- Grills used in an enclosed space
- Vehicles running in an attached garage
- Blocked chimney or flue
- Cracked or loose furnace exchanger
- Back-drafting and changes in air pressure
WHAT ARE CO POISONING SYMPTOMS?
Initial symptoms are similar to the flu without a fever and can include dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue and disorientation.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CO EXPOSURE?
- Mild Exposure: A slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, flu-like symptoms
- Medium Exposure: A severe headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate
- Extreme Exposure: Convulsions, unconsciousness, brain damage, heart and lung failure followed by death
ARE THERE ANY STEPS I CAN TAKE TO PREVENT CO POISONING?
- The only safe way to detect CO in your home is with a working CO alarm. Equip your home with CO alarms on every level and outside each sleeping area
- Have your heating system, vents, chimney and flue inspected annually by a qualified technician
- Install and operate appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions
- Only purchase appliances that have been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory
- Never use a gas stove to heat the home
- Never leave a vehicle idling in a closed garage
- Never use a grill or portable generator in close proximity to your home. CO emitted by these items can seep into your home through vents and doors
DO I NEED A CO ALARM? WHERE SHOULD IT BE INSTALLED?
- California SB 183 requires all single-family homes with attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide alarms within the home
- An alarm should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping areas
SHOULD MY CO ALARM HAVE A DIGITAL DISPLAY? WHAT DOES THE PEAK LEVEL FUNCTION DO?
A digital display allows you to see if CO is present and respond before it becomes a dangerous situation. Peak Level Memory stores the highest recorded reading prior to being reset. This feature enables you to know if there was a reading while you were away from home, and also can help emergency responders determine the best treatment.
WHO SHOULD I CALL IF MY CO ALARM GOES OFF?
Get to fresh air and call 911. If you are unable to leave the home, open the doors and windows, and turn off all possible sources of CO while you are waiting for assistance to arrive. Under no circumstance should an alarm be ignored.