Hillndale Volunteer Fire Department
and Cross Creek Townships since 1948
Carbon monoxide is known as the
Carbon Monoxide Page
This information is provided as a general reference.
Unfortunately, no set of actions can eliminate the chance of fire,
injury, or death.
Hillndale VFD is not responsible for any misinterpretation or misuse
of this information.
Facts about Carbon Monoxide:
Chemical formula and common abbreviation is CO.
CO is a by-product of incomplete combustion.
It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas.
A 1% mixture in air causes immediate unconsciousness and can be deadly
within 1 minute. A 4% concentration kills instantly.
Any appliance or heating system that runs on wood, coal, oil, or any type
of gas is a potential source of carbon monoxide in your home. Other
sources include a blocked chimney or vehicle exhaust.
CO enters the body by respiration. It quickly enters the bloodstream
and displaces oxygen molecules, without which the body's organs cannot
CO is actually flammable in high concentrations.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Exposure:
Symptoms include but are not limited to headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue,
disorientation, and difficulty breathing.
Since the body increases blood pressure to compensate for the decreased
oxygen supply, a victim's skin may appear flushed.
If everyone in an occupancy seems to get the flu at the same time, consider
the possibility of CO poisoning, the symptoms are very similar. However,
CO symptoms will improve when occupants leave for a several hours or more.
Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure:
Information about Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
Have fuel burning appliances inspected annually and watch for warning signs
of malfunction. These include excess soot deposits, excess rust on vent
pipes, condensation on windows and walls, no draft in a chimney,
or damaged or discolored bricks near the top of a chimney.
Install CO detectors near bedrooms and fuel burning appliances. If
a garage is attached to the house you will need one there too.
Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
Don't run vehicles in the garage for any longer than necessary without
good ventilation. Also remember to close any doors leading to the
house from an attached garage.
Always have new fuel burning appliances and heating units installed by
a licensed professional.
Purchase only UL listed CO detectors designed for the area of intended
Test CO detectors monthly along with your smoke detectors. Also change
batteries twice a year when you adjust your clocks for daylight savings
Some CO detectors require regular cleaning to avoid false alarms, so consult
the owner's manual for details.
Also note that CO detectors and smoke detectors have two completely different
functions and are not substitutes for one another. You need both.
Don't store chemical agents such as cleaning products near a CO detector.
The chemical vapors can damage the CO sensor.
What to do if a Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off:
Regardless of exhibited symptoms, never ignore the alarm.
Open all windows and doors to bring in fresh air.
Carefully check other occupants (especially infants and young children)
for symptoms of CO poisoning. If anyone shows symptoms, evacuate
the dwelling immediately and call the fire department. Don't re-enter
until the air has been checked with monitoring equipment.
Always determine the source of the CO, and have it repaired before using
the appliance again.
If the alarm sounds and no one shows symptoms, shut off fuel burning appliances
and heat and have them inspected before turning them back on.
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Fact: Carbon monoxide is created
by every fire.