Carbon Monoxide Safety

Gas Properties

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous and odorless gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can overcome an exposed person without warning. Carbon monoxide is produced by fuel burning appliances such as furnaces, gas ranges, and water heaters. Other sources for carbon monoxide are vehicles, charcoal grills, and fireplaces.

Warning Signs

Recognizing early warning sings of carbon monoxide poisoning is some times difficult because early symptoms of exposure are headache, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, and nausea which may be associated with the flu or cold. Young children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and people with heart or respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to CO poisoning. The severity of symptoms of CO exposure is influenced by three main factors - the concentration of CO in the environment, how long the exposure lasts, and work load and breathing rate.

Risks to CO poisoning can be minimized if the public pays attention to the following tips:

  • CO poisoning can also occur in boats, tents, and campers.
  • Don’t use a charcoal grill, generator, or other gasoline powered device in the house, or near open doors or windows.
  • Have your gas fueled appliances checked annually by a qualified technician.
  • Install CO alarms on every level of your home. If they are battery operated, change the battery at each time change. CO alarms aren’t a life-time device, and should be changed out periodically. If the alarm sounds, call 911, and leave your home immediately.
  • Never idle a vehicle in a garage, even if the garage door is open.

If you want more information about carbon monoxide safety, call Saratoga Springs Fire and EMS at 801-766-6505.