October 2013 - Code Compliance

What is Carbon Monoxide?

October 1, 2013

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer “, it prevents the body from getting oxygen. Symptoms can be flu-like: nausea, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, sleepiness, weakness.  It is invisible, tasteless, odorless and non-irritating.  In large amounts, CO can cause loss of consciousness, brain damage or death in minutes.

If you suspect CO poisoning, open all the windows and doors and get out of the building into fresh air immediately, call 9-1-1.  If you or someone else is experiencing symptoms, go to the hospital emergency room immediately and tell the physician you suspect CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is produced from burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, propane, gasoline and kerosene.  Here are a few precautions you can take to prevent CO poisoning;

Never run generators in indoor spaces, such as garages, basements, porches, crawlspaces or sheds, or in partly-enclosed spaces such as carports or breezeways. Generators should only be operated outside, far away from and downwind of buildings.

Never use a gas range or oven for warmth. Using a gas range or oven for warmth can cause a buildup of toxic carbon monoxide (CO) inside your home, cabin, vehicle or camper.

Never use a charcoal grill or a barbecue grill in your home or garage. Using a grill indoors will cause a buildup of toxic CO.

Never start up or run any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, generators or other small motors) in enclosed spaces.

Never use a stove or fireplace unless it is properly installed and vented. Annually, have it inspected and have oil and gas heat and hot water systems serviced.

Never run your car or truck or motorcycle inside a garage that is attached to a house or in a detached garage with the garage door shut; open the door to remove CO and other toxic gases in the exhaust.

Install a certified battery-powered or hardwired/ battery back-up CO detector in your home.  Carefully follow manufacturers’ instructions and check the batteries twice a year.

If the CO detector alarm sounds, get out of the building immediately and call 9-1-1.  Remember that preventing the presence of carbon monoxide is better than relying on an alarm.