This time of year is one of the most dangerous for excessive CO levels and exposure. Make sure you are protected!

What exactly is carbon monoxide (CO) and how is it produced? Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that is formed by the incomplete burning of various fuels. Carbon monoxide can also be produced by anything powered with an internal combustion engine, such as a car, power washer and portable generator.

Contrary to popular belief, everyday household items are some of the most common forms of CO exposure, as opposed to just leaving a car, lawn mower or item of that nature running in a confined area. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 170 people in the US die every year from carbon monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products. Malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances often lead to accidental CO poisoning in these cases. These “fuel-burning appliances” can include furnaces, range stoves, fireplaces or water heaters.

If you or someone you know suspects they have been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, some important symptoms to remember are listed below. These symptoms are dependent upon the CO level in any given situation and the duration of time the person has been exposed to said level:

Low/Moderate Exposure

  • Headache
  • Flu-like nausea and fatigue
  • Dizziness

High Exposure

  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of muscle control

Some preventative measures to protect you and your family can include refraining from using gas appliances to heat your home as well as never using a gas engine-powered tool in an enclosed space, like your garage, without ventilation.

Another reliable way to remain protected from CO poisoning is to install a CO alarm within your space. A CO detector is designed to warn you of harmful CO levels before they become life-threatening. Many states actually now require CO detectors in residences. Should your CO alarm sound, the first thing to do is evacuate outside to fresh air and contact emergency services. If you are in the market for an alarm system, you can purchase a carbon monoxide detector at our on-site store. The Store at City Fire is located at 733 Ridgedale Avenue in East Hanover, NJ (07936). This time of year is one of the most dangerous for excessive CO levels and exposure. Make sure you are protected!