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Posted on: January 5, 2022

Carbon Monoxide, the Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is produced from fuel-burning sources, including cars, generators, fireplaces, and cooking and heating appliances. The best defense is a working CO alarm. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes. If your alarm sounds and/or you have any of the above symptoms call 911.  

The Palatine Fire Department and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have the following CO safety tips:

  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location, one per floor, and 15 ft. from all sleeping locations. Any room above a garage should have a CO alarm as well. It is best practice to have all the alarms interconnected.
  • Check your CO alarm for a label from a recognized testing lab.
  • CO alarm manufacturers recommend to mount alarms 5-20 ft. from sources of CO such as furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, clothes dryers, ovens or stoves. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper mounting locations.
  • CO alarms should be checked once a month and batteries changed twice a year, if not a sealed, life-long battery. Alarms that are a plug-in or hardwired shall have a secondary battery backup.
  • If your CO alarm sends a trouble signal (chirps or beeps occasionally), refer to the owner manual or directions. Trouble signals are typically for end of life or low battery.
  • Never heat your home with your gas stove or oven. Never use a generator or grill indoors.
  • Furnaces and chimneys should be inspected and maintained yearly by a professional.
  • Never idle a vehicle inside the garage.
  • Check your dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace vents for snow buildup during and after a snowstorm.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, move all occupants outdoors to fresh air, then call 911.

For more information on CO safety visit the Palatine Fire Department website or nfpa.org.

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