Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, highly toxic gas that is undetectable to the human senses. It is a by-product of combustion, present whenever fuel is burned: wood, natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, oil, coal, charcoal, propane, kerosene, etc.
Here are some things that you should know about CO;
- Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the blood, which causes the brain, heart, muscles, tissues and organs to become oxygen starved.
- Being an odorless gas, victims may become disoriented before they are aware that they are in any danger, not allowing them to call for help or exit the premises.
- Symptoms can mimic a common cold, a hangover, food poisoning, depression, or flu (without body ache or fever).
- If you or any of your family members suspect an illness due to carbon monoxide call 911.
- Most commonly carbon monoxide poisoning comes from the malfunction of the following household appliances: gas stove, gas clothes dryer, furnace, gas water heater and a fireplace.
- This usually could be avoided with the proper installation, maintenance (which includes yearly inspections) and the proper usage of the appliance.
The best way to protect you and your family is to have a UL approved carbon monoxide detector installed on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide detectors along with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are the most important life safety devices that no home should be without. The Green Bay Fire Department has a limited number of CO detectors for distribution to Green Bay residents if you cannot afford one. Call 448-3293 to see if you qualify for this program.
Below are some excellent printable sources of information on Carbon Monoxide. All files are .pdf format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.