Take Precautions to Avoid Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 430 people annually and forces 50,000 people to visit the emergency room for treatment, but carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that is referred to as the Invisible Killer. CO poisoning is preventable, but steps need to be taken to ensure you and your family remain safe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning.”

Fumes generated from furnaces, kerosene heaters, vehicles ‘warmed up’ in garages, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, portable generators, or burning charcoal and wood produce CO.

People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and die from breathing CO.

Signs of CO poisoning include shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and weakness.

Texas Department of Insurance warns people that the most common causes of CO building up are incorrectly installed or poorly maintained or ventilated appliances like stoves and water heaters. Poorly ventilated fireplaces and other gas or wood-burning appliances can also pose a danger.

In addition to making sure appliances are installed correctly and have ventilation, installing a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area on each level of your home is critical.

Alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries should be changed twice a year when changing your smoke detector batteries.

If the CO alarm activates, exit the home immediately and call 9-1-1. Do not enter the house until emergency responders say it is safe to return inside.

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