Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? If so, when was the last time you checked it? Carbon monoxide detectors have a lifespan of up to seven years and because of legislation requiring them back in 2011, many expire this year.
Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “Invisible Killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental non fire-related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including: mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, loss of consciousness and ultimately death.
Protect yourself and your family from the dangers of Carbon monoxide by:
- Installing and maintaining CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of CO.
- Installing CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Using portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows and vents.
- Making sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of debris.
Learn more about fire prevention from the U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov.