Carbon Monoxide – Prevention and Early Warning


Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As we welcome in cooler temperatures and prepare for another home-heating season, it is imperative that area residents respect the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and take steps to prevent a CO incident in their home.

Consider these facts:

  • CO is undetectable to humans. Unlike a fire that can be seen or smelled, CO is colorless and odorless. Lethal levels can be present, and you will not know it.
  • At high levels, CO will literally paralyze anyone exposed. You are unable to help yourself, you are unable to help your family, yet you will be aware of it.
  • CO can be lethal. It is not uncommon to lose an entire family to CO poisoning.
  • Prevention and Early Warning are the only options for protecting you and your family.

Consider these prevention methods:

  • Have all of your gas-fired appliances inspected by a qualified technician at the beginning of the heating season.
  • Never use cooking appliances as a heat source.
  • Make sure your furnace can get plenty of fresh air. Do not add walls around your furnace without providing a fresh air source. (A common remodeling mistake) Do not crowd storage next to your furnace.
  • Do not leave a vehicle running in an attached garage.
  • Do not use gas-fired or charcoal grills indoors.
  • Do not use portable generators or gas-fired pumps indoors. A small engine left running in an attached garage or in a basement is a common source of multiple CO deaths.
  • The TRFD does not endorse or recommend the use of unvented gas-fired heaters.

Early Warning:

  • Install carbon-monoxide detectors in your home. At least one on every level of your home. At least one close to main bedroom so a nighttime event will wake someone up.
  • The TRFD recommends a CO detector that plugs into the wall, has a digital readout, and has a battery backup.
  • Avoid installing CO detectors next to bathrooms. Moisture and aerosols tend to produce false alarms.

For further information or assistance, feel free to call the TRFD at 269-278-3755.