Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home



Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death for people and pets. It is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, charcoal, kerosene, natural gas, propane, methane, and petroleum products burn incompletely.

CO alarms alert you and your family when there are dangerous levels in your home. Alarms can be purchased at any home improvement store.


Safeguard Your Home

  • Install and maintain CO alarms to provide early warning.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height as well as cleaning and replacement guidelines. Instructions are included in the package or can be found online.
  • CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Combination CO and smoke alarms are also available.
  • Know the difference between the sound of your smoke alarms and the sound of your CO alarms.
  • Test alarms monthly and replace them if they fail to respond.


CO poisoning happens when you breathe too much of the gas. What makes CO so dangerous is that when you breathe it, it replaces the oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, cells throughout the body die and the organs stop working.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include slight headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, confusion, irritability, and unconsciousness.


Causes of CO Poisoning:

  • Operating poorly maintained or unvented furnaces, boilers, and other fuel-burning equipment.
  • Using gas stoves or ovens to heat the home.
  • Clogged chimneys and heating exhaust vents.
  • Running cars, portable generators, or gas-powered tools in enclosed areas such as garages.
  • Malfunctioning or improperly vented water heaters or clothes dryers.


If your CO alarm sounds, immediately evacuate your home and call 911. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters will be dispatched to check your home for the presence of CO and let you know if it is safe to reenter.


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