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Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 9, 2014. As you prepare to set your clocks ahead one hour, remember to change the batteries in your CO detector. If you don't have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO alarm, now is a great time to buy one. At least 430 people die each year in the US from unintentional, non-fire related CO poisoning.

CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, portable generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.

When power outages occur during emergencies such as hurricanes or winter storms, the use of alternative sources of power for heating, cooling, or cooking can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure

  • Photo: CO detector and batteriesDo have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or outside less than 20 feet from a window, door, or vent.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Don't heat your house with a gas oven.

CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by acting wisely in case of a power outage and learning the symptoms of CO poisoning.

Click here for Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips in 16 Additional Languages.

For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/co.

 

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  • Page last reviewed: March 3, 2014
  • Page last updated: March 3, 2014
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