FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2005
CONTACT: Doc Kokol (850) 245-4111
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.What is Carbon Monoxide?
A.Carbon monoxide (CO)
is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that interferes
with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of
the body and is highly poisonous.
Q.What Are the Major Sources of CO?
monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete burning
of fuels including coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas,
gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and heating oil. It can be
produced by portable generators, small gasoline engines,
charcoal grills, gas stoves, automobile exhaust from
attached garages, and smoking tobacco. Problems can
arise as a result of improper placement, installation,
operation, maintenance of CO generating devices or
appliances. Improperly designed or malfunctioning
exhaust systems for permanently installed home
combustion appliances may also contribute to elevated CO
levels. Portable generators and charcoal grills are
major sources of CO and should never be operated inside
enclosed or partially enclosed building or near doors,
windows and openings to the house.
Q.What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide
A.Depending on the level of exposure, CO may
cause fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with
heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion,
nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of
coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness,
and in severe cases, death.
Q.What Should You Do If You Think You Have CO
A.If you think you are suffering from carbon
monoxide (CO) poisoning, you should get fresh air
immediately. Turn off all combustion appliances and
leave the house. Go to an emergency room. Be sure to
tell the physician that you suspect CO poisoning. Don’t
ignore symptoms, especially if more than one person is
feeling them. In cases of severe CO poisoning, call 911
emergency services or the Poison Information Center at
Q.What Can Be Done to Prevent CO Poisoning?
prevent CO poisoning, ensure that all household
combustion appliances (fireplaces, stoves, water
heaters, furnaces) are properly adjusted and working to
manufacturers’ instructions and local building codes and
make sure stoves and heaters are exhaust vented to the
outside and that exhaust systems do not leak.
Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home. Do
not burn charcoal inside a home, cabin, recreational
vehicle, or camper, and you never leave a car or lawn
mower engine running in a shed or garage, or in any
enclosed or partially enclose space. NEVER use
gas-powered generators or pressure washers inside any
building or structure. Ventilating a building or
structure will not prevent the buildup of life
threatening levels of CO. Do not locate portable
generators or portable gasoline engines near any opening
of the house (windows, doors, window air conditioners,
Q.What About Carbon Monoxide Alarms?
installing CO alarms in your home. The US Consumer
Product Safety Commission recommends the installation of
CO alarms in every home. Install battery operated CO
alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup
according to manufacturer’s installation instructions.
The CO alarm should be certified to the requirements of
the latest safety standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS
6-96, CSA 6.19.01)
REMEMBER: Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms can be used as
a backup but not as a replacement for proper use,
placement and maintenance of your fuel-burning
appliances or gas powered portable equipment. Also,
understand that CO alarms are designed to sound an alert
at fairly high levels. Lower level CO exposure below the
alarm threshold could still contribute to adverse health
effects in susceptible individuals (persons with heart
or lung disease for example).