What can I
do to safeguard my family against carbon monoxide?
Approximately 250 people in the United States died
last year from the "Silent Killer" -- carbon monoxide
(CO). This deadly gas is hard to detect because it is
odorless, colorless and tasteless. The safety experts at
Underwriters Laboratories recommend that consumers
follow these steps to help prevent carbon monoxide
- Have a qualified technician inspect fuel-burning
appliances such as furnaces, hot water heaters and
stoves at least once each year.
- Be aware that CO poisoning may be the cause of
flu-like symptoms such as headaches, tightness of
chest, dizziness, fatigue, confusion and breathing
- Most CO poisonings occur at night so install a
CO detector with an alarm outside sleeping areas.
Test the detector weekly and replace the battery at
least once a year. Do not ignore the alarm if it
- And don't leave vehicles running in an enclosed
garage, even to "warm up" your car on a cold
Sandra McKinnon, Family Financial Education Specialist, University of Missouri-Extension
Cynthia E. Crawford, Ph.D., Family Financial Education Specialist, University of Missouri-Extension
Last update: Wednesday, April 19, 2006