Carbon Monoxide Safety

In the past decade, people have become more aware of the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in the home. often called the silent killer, carbon 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. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
• Install CO alarms (listed by an independent testing laboratory) inside your home to provide early warning of accumulating CO.
• CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area.
• Test CO alarms at least once a month, and replace CO alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Do not run a vehicle, generator, or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
• During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
• Have fuel-burning household heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood and coal stoves, space or portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.
• When using a fireplace, open the flue for adequate ventilation.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Know the difference between the sound of the smoke alarms and the sound of the CO alarms.
• If the CO detector sounds intermittently and is battery-powered, check the battery.
• If your CO detector sounds a steady alarm, do not ventilate the home but EVACUATE and call 9-1-1 so the Fire Dept can investigate the source with specialized gas meters.
• Call a qualified technician to inspect all equipment after the Fire Dept. deems the dwelling safe to return.
• Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poising are severe headache, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, or faintness. Many of these symptoms are similar to the flu, food poisoning or other illnesses. Advise the 9-1-1 dispatcher if you have any of these symptoms.
• CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home including inside all sleeping areas. Having a working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically increases your chances of survival. Smoke alarm batteries need to be tested every month and changed with new ones at least once a year. Consider replacing the entire smoke alarm every ten years, or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend. Please contact Fire Official Frank McDonnell to receive your FREE battery operated smoke detector (732) 928-1666 x14 or email

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Submitted by Fire Official Frank McDonnell

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