How to Prevent CO Poisoning:

  • Inspect flues and chimneys for cracks, corrosion, holes, debris or blockages.
  • Buy fuel-powered heaters with automatic shut-off features.
  • Fuel heaters in well-ventilated areas.
  • Service heaters before the first use of winter season
  • Open windows periodically to air out your house. Homes with energy-efficient insulation can trap CO-polluted air inside.
  • Use a gas stove for cooking purposes only.
  • Operate gas-burning appliances in a well-ventilated room.
  • Never leave a car running in a garage.
  • Use charcoal grills outdoors, never indoors.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors.

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Possible Sources of CO

  • Gas stoves
  • Hot water heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Lawnmowers
  • Pilot lights
  • Gas or oil furnaces
  • Car exhaust fumes
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • Charcoal
  • Gas space heaters
  • Tobacco smoke

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When a person breathes in carbon monoxide, it is absorbed by hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. "Carboxy hemoglobin" is then formed, replacing oxygen, preventing its release in the body and eventually causing suffocation.

  • Mild Exposure: Flu-like symptoms including slight headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
  • Medium Exposure: Severe headache, drowsiness, confusion and a fast heart rate. Prolonged exposure to medium levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can result in death.
  • Extreme Exposure: Loss of consciousness, convulsions, heart and lung failure, possible brain damage and death.

While everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, unborn babies, infants and young children, senior citizens and people with heart and lung problems are at a higher risk due to their greater oxygen needs.

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Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, extremely poisonous and explosive gas that causes 1,500 accidental deaths and more than 10,000 injuries each year. CO is slightly lighter than air and mixes throughout the atmosphere. It is a by-product of incomplete combustion, produced when fuels such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline or wood are burned with insufficient air.

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The ordinance goes into effect on April 1, 2018. Learn more.

If the Alarm Sounds ...

If the alarm sounds and anyone in the house has symptoms of CO Poisoning

  • Leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1 or an emergency response number.
  • Have someone contact the fire department and consult the local fuel company.

If your alarm goes off and no one has symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Turn off all fuel-burning appliances that are possible sources of CO.
  • Open windows to air out the house.
  • Contact the local fuel company or a licensed technician to repair the problem.

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Carbon monoxide alarms may be purchased online or at local retail stores. 

In a dwelling unit, a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm must be installed outside of each separate sleeping area and in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping area. A CO alarm must be installed within a sleeping area if a fuel-burning or solid fuel appliance is located within the sleeping area, a bathroom attached to the sleeping area or a garage attached to the sleeping area.

The property owner or property manager is responsible for the installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors.