You’ve heard the reports on the news...
- "Firefighters discover couple dead from gas heater fumes."
- "Family found unconscious, overcome by carbon monoxide."
Known as 'The Silent Killer', CO is produced whenever fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned - and can be produced by common household appliances. Sources of CO poisoning can include:
- Gas water heaters
- Home heating systems
- Kerosene space heaters
- Grills, hibachis or portable gas camp stoves
- Idling motor vehicles
- Cigarette smoke
- Propane-fueled forklifts
- Gas-powered concrete saws
- Indoor tractor pulls
- Swimming behind a motorboat
- Spray paint, solvents, degreasers, and paint removers
The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can mimic the flu, and you may not be inclined to think of CO poisoning. At a low level exposure, shortness of breath, nausea and headaches are common. At a moderate level, victims experience more severe headaches, dizziness and confusion, and often become nauseated or faint. The longer the exposure to CO, the greater the chance of death.If You Think You Have Been Exposed to Carbon Monoxide:
- Move quickly to fresh air, away from the suspected source of exposure.
- Seek medical care in a hospital emergency department or contact your doctor.
- If severe, life-threatening symptoms are present, call 9-1-1.
- Get a qualified professional to investigate and repair the source of CO.
- Never use a grille or any type of barbecue indoors.
- Never burn any type of charcoal indoors.
- Have a certified technician service your home heating system each year.
- Be extremely careful with portable generators.
- Do not allow your vehicle to idle in an enclosed space or near a door or window to your home.
- Get a Carbon Monoxide Alarm!
Carbon Monoxide Alarms are required by law in most States.For additional information about Carbon Monoxide:
- National Fire Protection Association
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- U.S. Fire Administration
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department