Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Any more, it would seem like everyone would be well aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  However, it’s averaged that 170 people die every year due to malfunctioning fuel burning appliances.

What are some things you can do to protect your family?  First, let’s learn a little bit about what it is exactly…


Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless and invisible gas produced during the combustion of fuels such as gasoline, diesel and propane.  Since victims cannot see or smell this gas they don’t realize they are in danger, often until it is too late.  Carbon monoxide can poison you in just a few minutes.


Symptoms will vary depending upon length of time and general health.

  1. Low levels – may include flu-like symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes and a runny nose along with general disorientation and tiredness.
  2. Medium levels – can include dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting.  This is a very dangerous stage and immediate action must be taken.
  3. High levels – Unconsciousness, brain damage and death.

If you feel you are experiencing any of the symptoms of CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately.  Leave the home and call your local fire department to report your symptoms from a neighbor’s home.  You could lose consciousness and die if you continue to stay in the home.  It’s also important to contact your doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis.  If you doctor confirms CO poisoning, make sure a qualified service person checks the appliances for proper operation before reusing them!


  • Make sure appliances are installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.  
  • Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skill and tools.  Always refer to the owner’s manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel burning equipment.
  • Never operate a portable generator or any other gas powered tool either in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, house or other building.  
  • Install a CO alarm in your home and be sure it meets the proper safety standards.  Make sure it isn’t covered up by draperies or furniture.
  • Never use portable fuel burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space and provides instructions for safe use in an enclosed area.

While this list is in no way complete, it will give you the basics to be sure you have your appliances operating safely and you are doing all you can to protect your health and that of your family!

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