Carbon monoxide safety tips

Often called the silent killer, car bon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

Severe headache, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, or faintness. Many of these symptoms are similar to the flu, food poisoning or other illnesses.

Safety tips

  • Install CO alarms (listed by anindependent testing laboratory)inside your home to provide early warning of accumulating CO.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside eachseparate sleeping area.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month, and replace CO alarms according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle,remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle, generator, or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open.
  • Have fuel-burning household heating equipment (fireplaces,furnaces, water heaters, wood and coal stoves, space or portableheaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.
  • When using a fireplace, open the flue completely for adequate ventilation.
  • Open a window slightly whenever using a kerosene or gas heater. (Kerosene heaters are illegal in many states. Always check with local authorities before buying or using one.) Only refuel outside, after the device has cooled.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home and in or outside all sleeping areas.
  • Know the difference between the sound of the smoke alarms and the sound of the CO alarms.


If your CO alarm sounds

  • If it is a battery-powered intermittent alarm, check the battery.
  • If it is a steady alarm call the fire department and leave. Do not re-enter until the fire department says it is ok.
  • Call a qualified technician to inspect all equipment.

Source: San Antonio Fire Department