University of Missouri Extension

CO Detectors - Don't Ignore the Alarm

Approximately 250 people in the United States died last year from the "Silent Killer" -- carbon monoxide (CO). This deadly gas is hard to detect because it is odorless, colorless and tasteless. The safety experts at Underwriters Laboratories recommend that consumers follow these steps to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

Have a qualified technician inspect fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves at least once each year.

Be aware that CO poisoning may be the cause of flu-like symptoms such as headaches, tightness of chest, dizziness, fatigue, confusion and breathing difficulties.

Most CO poisonings occur at night so install a CO detector with an alarm outside sleeping areas. Test the detector weekly and replace the battery at least once a year. Do not ignore the alarm if it goes off.

And don't leave vehicles running in an enclosed garage, even to "warm up" your car on a cold morning.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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