Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by appliances that are not used properly or that are malfunctioning. Learn how to protect yourself and your family.
If the power goes out:
ONLY use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents.
NEVER use a generator indoors, in garages or carports.
NEVER cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. Carbon monoxide can build up so quickly that victims are overcome before they can get help.
Once inhaled, carbon monoxide:
- Can cause permanent brain damage.
- Can cause chest pains or heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
- Never burn charcoal inside homes, tents, campers, vans, trucks, garages or mobile homes.
- Do not burn charcoal in the fireplace in your home.
- Never use gasoline-powered equipment indoors.
- Never use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
- Never idle a car in a garage, even when the garage door is open.
- Never sleep in a room while using an unvented gas or kerosene heater.
- Make sure that chimneys and flues are in good condition and are not blocked.
- Carbon monoxide warning devices may provide additional protection, but should not replace the other prevention steps.
If you suspect someone has been poisoned by carbon monoxide
- Move the person to a place with fresh air immediately.
- Take the person to an emergency room and tell them that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
Other languages (All files are PDF.)
DOH Pub 821-045
Revised - March 2008