Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can happen within a matter of minutes and is responsible for more deaths than any other single poison. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic poison that can hurt you slowly in low levels, cause permanent neurological dysfunctions in moderate levels or take lives in higher levels. Protection against this deadly poison is as easy as installing a simple carbon monoxide detector in your home or office.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen within a matter of minutes and is responsible for more deaths than any other single poison. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, disorientation, confusion, weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and chest pain.
All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning. Certain groups, unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are more susceptible to its effects. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is produced whenever fuel such as propane, natural gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. CO gas can come from several sources: Gas-fired appliances and heating units, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces and motor vehicles.
What you need to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off depends on whether anyone is feeling ill or not. If no one is feeling ill:
1. Silence the alarm.
2. Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace).
3. Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.
4. Call the fire department to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup.
If illness or symptoms are a factor:
1. Evacuate all occupants immediately.
2. Call “911” and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.
3. Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department.
Protect Yourself and Your Family from carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning.
- Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal on every floor in the home, near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms
- Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year.
The Vermillion Fire Department has provided this guide as a public service announcement.
If you have additional questions, contact the Vermillion Fire Department at (605) 677-7097.