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Avoiding Carbon Monoxide

In the home, carbon monoxide is most commonly formed by flames and heaters, as well as vehicles or generators that are running in an attached garage. The gas is produced when the fuel doesn't completely burn. As temperatures drop and you crank the heat or warm up the car’s engine before hitting the road, it’s essential to protect yourself against this lethal gas.

Since carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a carbon monoxide detection device, it is essential to install and maintain one or more detectors in your home.

Detector Tips

We want you and your family to stay protected, so check out the following tips from CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority for safeguarding your household.

  • The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door, and there should be one near or over any attached garage.

  • Each detector should be replaced every five to six years.

  • Battery-only carbon monoxide detectors tend to go through batteries more frequently than expected. Plug-in detectors with a battery backup (for use if power is interrupted) provide less battery-changing maintenance.

  • Read the installation manual that comes with the detector you purchase. Manufacturers’ recommendations differ based on research conducted with detectors for specific brands.

  • Remember that carbon monoxide detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. You can, however, purchase a dual smoke/carbon monoxide detector that can perform both functions.

  • Do not install carbon monoxide detectors next to fuel-burning appliances, as these appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon startup.

In case of exposure

We hope you never have to use the following tips, but please read on for good information that could help save a life.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to carbon monoxide, the Mayo Clinic recommends you check for the following symptoms:

  • dull headache

  • weakness

  • dizziness

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • shortness of breath

  • confusion

  • loss of consciousness

If any of the symptoms exist, move the individual into fresh air and seek emergency medical care immediately.