Carbon Monoxide Safety

Information About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

  • Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas.
  • It is produced by incomplete combustion of fuels. This would include natural gas, propane gas, oil, gasoline, diesel, wood, fuels, and the running of automobiles and smoking cigarettes.

Why Is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?

  • Carbon Monoxide reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen by reacting with oxygen-carrying portion of the blood. Due to its nature it rapidly displaces oxygen in the bloodstream.
  • The effects of Carbon Monoxide are dependent on both Carbon Monoxide concentration and length of exposure.
  • Carbon Monoxide is undetectable by humans.
  • Low levels of exposure can be hazardous to children, infants, the unborn, the elderly, and those with heart or lung disease.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • A mild exposure can cause nausea, headache, and symptoms can often be mistaken for common illness such as the flu or cold.
  • A medium exposure can cause severe headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate, increased respirations and cherry red lips.
  • An extreme exposure can cause unconsciousness, convulsions, cardio-respiratory failure, and death.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be caused by improper installation, use, and operation of fuel combustion devices.
  • Some combustion devices require a vent. Proper size and operation is needed for safe application
  • Fresh or make up air is needed for complete combustion

Where to Look for Sources of Carbon Monoxide

  • Furnace connections to chimneys that have rust, corrosion, gaps, holes or obstructions
  • Furnace filters obstructed with dirt or other blockages
  • Outside venting systems with cracks, corrosion, holes, debris or other blockages
  • Fireplaces with closed, blocked, or bent flues, soot or other debris or animal nests
  • Running automobiles in side of garages even with the doors open
  • Use of un-vented kerosene heaters. they are not only illegal but dangerous
  • Fresh make up air not provided when using any fuel-burning appliance or heater.
  • Use of liquid fuel construction heaters
  • Cooking on un-vented stoves
  • Down drafts in chimneys
  • Entry doors and other openings to attached garages
  • Use of barbecue grills indoors
  • Cloths dryer vents with blockage of lint buildup

How Do I Protect Myself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

  • Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Inspect your home for the possible sources of carbon monoxide
  • Have your appliances serviced on a regular basis

What to Do if You Suspect Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Call 911 Immediately
  • Remove occupants to fresh air
  • Do not re-enter the area until it has been checked by the fire department