Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that you can’t see. At high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning, but babies are especially susceptible. CO is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. When maintained and used properly, 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.
Some people use an alarm, similar to a smoke detector. Experts feel that this is a good idea, but because they are not generally as reliable as smoke detectors, your best bet is to focus on proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances.
> Have fuel-burning appliances, furnace flues, and chimneys checked once a year.
> Never use gas ovens or burners for heat
> Never use barbecues or grills indoors or in the garage. Never sleep in rooms with unvented gas or kerosene space heaters.
> Don't run cars or lawnmowers in the garage.
> Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of you car every year. A small leak in your car's exhaust system can lead to a build up of CO inside the car.
> Install in all sleeping areas a CO alarm that meets UL, IAS, or Canadian standards.
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