Carbon monoxide (CO) can sicken or even kill occupants of homes without
CO alarms. The gas cannot be seen or smelled, and the symptoms are ones that can easily be mistaken for a headache, flu, cold, asthma, or general
fatigue. In addition, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up before some people are even aware of symptoms.
According to the Center for Disease Control, symptoms of toxic levels of
carbon monoxide can include any of the following:
If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds and no one in the home is feeling
ill or showing symptoms, follow these steps:
1. Silence the alarm.
2. Turn off or extinguish all fuel-burning appliances and systems
including gas furnaces, grills, vehicles, and wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces or woodstoves.
3. Relocate infants and children, pregnant women, people with heart or lung problems, and the elderly
from the home to a safe location.
4. Open doors and windows to air out the house.
5. Call a qualified technician to inspect your fuel-burning systems and appliances to locate the
source of any carbon monoxide buildup.
6. Do not use any of your fuel-burning appliances and systems until
you get the "All Clear" signal from the inspecting technician(s).
7. Replace any batteries older than 6 months old in a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.
If two or more carbon monoxide alarms in your home sound their alarms,
even if no one is feeling ill, follow the directions below.
If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds and one or more people are
experiencing possible symptoms, immediately do the following:
everyone right away. Do not stop to silence the alarm.
2. Determine how many people are possibly experiencing symptoms of
carbon monoxide poisoning and which symptoms they have.
3. Call 9-1-1
or the appropriate emergency number in your area. Give your address, the number of people
feeling ill and their symptoms as well as the information that your carbon monoxide alarm has sounded.
4. If the emergency medical personnel determine one or more of you should be
transported to a hospital for evaluation or treatment, comply even if people are now feeling better. Remember, CO poisoning can impair your judgment, so trust the EMT's.
5. Do not go back into the house until you get the "All Clear"
signal from the fire department.
6. Have your fuel-burning appliances and systems
inspected by qualified professionals to determine the source or sources of carbon monoxide.
7. Have the source of the carbon monoxide repaired
by a qualified technician.
8. Replace the batteries
in your carbon monoxide alarms.
9. If your carbon monoxide alarms are more than six years old, replace them.