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How to stay safe from carbon monoxide

This odorless, colorless gas is more insidious than you may realize. Learn what to do in case of a buildup.

All about carbon monoxide dangers

Help protect your family from the invisible poisonous killer

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fuels in vehicles, cooking appliances, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, and other gas, coal, wood or oil-burning appliances.

  • Inhaled carbon monoxide deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen.
  • Each year, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning causes:
  • 400 fatalities, 20,000 plus emergency room visits, 4,000 plus hospitalizations.
  • How to spot carbon monoxide building: decreased hot water supply, increased moisture on windows, loose or disconnected chimney, fireplace or appliance, black soot on appliances and vents, rust or water on vents or chimney, loose or missing furnace panel.
  • How to spot carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Low to moderate poisoning: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness. Severe poisoning: confusion, vomiting, loss of muscle coordination, unconsciousness.

How to help prevent carbon monoxide problems:

  • Install detectors in central locations, in each sleeping area, on every level of the home and near attached garages. Use interconnecting alarms, when one sounds others will sounds.
  • Test alarms monthly.
  • Only buy gas-powered equipment that has a seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Never let engines run inside a garage, even if the door is open.
  • Keep dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace vents clear of debris and snow.
  • Never run a generator in a home, garage or crawlspace.
  • Have your furnace, water heater and other appliances serviced by a qualified technician once a year.

How to react when the alarm sounds:

  1. Exit the house.
  2. Check everyone for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. Call 911.
  4. Do not re-enter your home until authorities have cleared it.

Return to original article about the causes and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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