Carbon Monoxide (CO) is often referred to as the 'silent killer' and is the leading cause of deaths attributed to poison in the United States. It is odorless, invisible and an extremely dangerous gas that can be emitted from everyday appliances to the car parked in your garage. You cannot see or smell carbon monoxide, but at heightened levels it carries the potential of killing a person within mere minutes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. When appliances that burn fuel are maintained and properly used, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Even more individuals die from CO produced by idling cars. First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarms and First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detectors can greatly assist in detecting and identifying CO threats and give you ample amounts of time to evacuate your home. For additional protection, check out our selection of Combination CO and Smoke Alarms or take a look at our First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm Feature Comparison Chart to find the precise carbon monoxide alarm to match your individual needs and requirements.
About CO Detectors
Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are available and you should have one present in your home as a back-up -- BUT NOT AS A REPLACEMENT for proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances. Don't let buying a CO detector lull you into a false sense of security. Preventing CO from becoming a problem in your home is better than relying on an alarm. Always follow the checklist of DOs and DON'Ts.
Prevention is the Key to Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
DO have your fuel-burning appliances -- including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves -- inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.
DO choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside whenever possible, have them properly installed, and maintain them according to manufacturers' instructions.
DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel-burning.
DON'T idle the car in a garage -- even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
DON'T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
DON'T ever use a charcoal grill indoors -- even in a fireplace.
DON'T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
DON'T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.
DON'T ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.
If the Carbon Monoxide Detector goes off:
Make sure it is your CO alarm and not your smoke alarm.
Check to see if any member of the household is experiencing symptoms of poisoning.
If they are, get them out of the house immediately and seek medical attention. Tell the doctor that you suspect CO poisoning.
If no one is feeling symptoms, ventilate the home with fresh air, turn off all potential sources of CO -- your oil or gas furnace, gas water heater, gas range and oven, gas dryer, gas or kerosene space heater and any vehicle or small engine.
Where to Place Carbon Monoxide Alarms: One on every level of the home and one in each sleeping area.