What You Should Know About Carbon Monoxide (CO)

What should you do when a CO alarm sounds? 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning1. Operate the Test/Silence button.
2. Call your emergency services, fire department or 000.
3. Immediately move to fresh air—outdoors or by an open door or window. Do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for. Do not reenter the premises, or move away from the open door or window until the emergency services responder has arrived, the premises have been aired out, and your CO Alarm remains in its normal condition.
4. After following steps 1-3, if your CO Alarm reactivates within a 24-hour period, repeat steps 1-3 and call a qualified appliance technician to investigate for sources of CO from fuel-burning equipment and appliances, and inspect for proper operation of this equipment. If problems are identified during this inspection have the equipment serviced immediately.
5. Note any combustion equipment not inspected by the technician, and consult the manufacturers’ instructions, or contact the manufacturers directly, for more information about CO safety and this equipment. Make sure that motor vehicles are not, and have not, been operating in an attached garage or adjacent to the residence.

*Per ANSI/UL 2034

Disaster Preparedness and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

At the onset of hurricane season, it’s important for consumers to remember the proper safety precautions to take in the event of a power outage, as several dangers – including accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – arise when electricity is lost.

During power outages, many consumers turn to various sources of alternative power and cooking as a temporary solution.  From gas-powered generators to gas grills to wood and charcoal, households look for ways to continue their daily lives during a loss of power.  Unfortunately, the incorrect use of many of these products can result in tragic consequences.  For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 28 people died from accidental CO poisoning during the 2005 hurricane season as a direct result of portable generator use.

The following safety tips will help families avoid CO and other dangers associated with power outages:

• Never run a generator indoors or in a poorly ventilated area such as a garage, basement or porch, and use the appropriate-size power cords to carry the electric load.
• Install a minimum of one battery-operated CO alarm (or AC-powered alarm with battery backup) outside each sleeping area, and for maximum protection install at least one CO alarm on each level of the home.
• Ensure that CO alarms have working batteries installed.
• Never burn charcoal or other outdoor cooking appliances indoors or in the garage.

Extra Guidelines to Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

A national survey reveals nearly three quarters of Americans think carbon monoxide (CO) can be “very dangerous” in the home, and their fears are warranted. CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Often referred to as the silent killer because one can’t see, smell or taste it, CO is a by-product of combustion produced by anything that burns fuel, such as gas furnaces, water heaters, barbeque grills, wood-burning fireplaces, stoves, alternative power sources and autos. Exposure to CO causes many flu-like symptoms and can be fatal.

That’s why it’s so critical for consumers to identify potential dangers and take measures to help protect themselves and their families against this serious threat.

First Alert, a leading manufacturer of home safety products including CO alarms, recommends following these guidelines:

• Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a qualified professional every year before cold weather arrives. During the heating season, clear filters and filtering systems of dust and dirt.
• Be sure to open the flue for adequate ventilation when using a fireplace.
• Inspect the pilot lights on natural gas appliances to ensure that the flame is blue. When a flame is mostly yellow in color, it likely is producing CO.
• Clean out the lint and debris that may build up in the clothes dryer vent which leads to the outside of the house.
• Only use generators in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
• Use barbeque grills only outside and never indoors or in the garage.
• Never leave an auto running in a garage, even for a couple of minutes and not even if the overhead garage door is open.
• Install a CO alarm outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. Ensure that the alarms are plugged all the way in the outlet or, if battery operated, have working batteries installed. For better protection go a step further and install CO alarms inside each sleeping area.
• First Alert recommends replacing CO alarms no later than every 5 years.

First Alert CO Alarm Features

• AC/DC Plug-in with Battery Backup and Digital Display
• AC/DC Plug-in with Battery Backup
• AC/DC Plug-in
• Battery Powered
• Combination Smoke and CO Alarms
• Combination Natural Gas, Propane Gas & CO Gas Alarm