Carbon Monoxide, A Silent Killer – 5 Tips to Protect Your Family

When you think of someone getting carbon monoxide (abbreviated CO) poisoning, you don’t usually think of it coming from your home.  Our homes are a place of security and protection.  However, this odorless, colorless, invisible gas strikes residences every year.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 150 people die each year from this unseen killer.  It is given off when heating with a gas furnace, or even using a gas dryer for clothes.    It also comes from other consumer products such as generators, fireplaces, and even water heaters.   The symptoms can mimic the flu without fever.  You can provide some added protection for your family by following these 5 tips:

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  1. Purchase a reliable CO alarm.
    There are a number of things to look at when purchasing one.  They come with a selection of features such as visual indicators, silence and test buttons.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation and placement and make sure you look into local codes for requirements of unit placement.

  2. Never leave an automobile running in an attached garage, even if the garage door is open.  The carbon monoxide gas can still travel indoors and be a hazard to people and pets.

  3. Make sure you have annual inspection of your furnace or heating system by a professional inspector.  If you have a chimney, make sure to have it and the flue checked for blockages, corrosion, or disconnections.  Also make sure your appliances are installed and used properly.

  4. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – such as dizziness, headache, lethargy, breathing difficulties, tightness of chest, and confusion.   CO poisoning often causes an individual’s blood pressure to rise, which can cause the skin to look pink or red.

  5. Portable generators or gasoline engine powered tools should never be operated in or near enclosed spaces, even if doors or windows are open.  CO levels can become trapped and quickly build up to lethal levels.

These helpful tips are just a small part of what you can do to protect your loved ones from CO poisoning.  For more questions and answers regarding carbon monoxide poisoning, check out the CPSC website.


As always, we here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency have your family’s health and safety at heart.