Safety Tips to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Provided by Prince William County

Carbon monoxide (CO) is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it has gas that is odorless, colorless and poisonous. Each year in the U.S., hundreds of people die and thousands become ill from CO poisoning.

CO poisoning is difficult to recognize since many of its symptoms mimic other illnesses. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.
Chief Tim Keen of the Prince William County Fire & Rescue System urges residents to take the following precautions to avoid CO poisoning:

  • Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Have a qualified technician annually inspect your heating system and chimneys.
  • NEVER use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short period of time.
  • Use generators outdoors in well-ventilated locations more than 20 feet away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • DO NOT run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open.
For more information, visit the U.S. Fire Administration webpage, the Consumer Product Safety Commission webpage, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage.
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