Carbon monoxide (CO) is an extremely toxic gas that is invisible, ordorless and colorless. It is the byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon fuels in heaters and furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, and gas stoves and ovens. CO is often called the “silent killer.” Because it can’t be seen or smelled, the toxic fumes can incapacitate or kill people and animals before its presence is detected in a home. CO is responsible for an average of 450 deaths and 20,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. annually. As of 2011, thirty states require carbon monoxide alarms in homes to combat the serious threat of CO poisoning.
Here are some safety tips to help protect you and your family:
• DO have fuel-burning systems and appliances inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season.
• DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device.
• DON’T idle the car in a garage, even if the garage door is open.
• DON’T ever use a charcoal grill indoors – even in a fireplace.
• DON’T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
• MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home.