Loudoun Fire Officials Offer Safety Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Jan 07, 2014

The Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management reminds residents to exercise caution when utilizing gas operated appliances in and around the home.  When gas appliances are not used and maintained properly they can release a toxic gas called carbon monoxide (CO).  Carbon monoxide occurs when fuels such as gasoline, wood, natural gas, propane, etc. burn incompletely. Heating and cooking appliances are some of the most common offenders but running vehicles and generators inside a garage can also emit the toxic gas.   
Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous and is commonly referred to as the “Silent Killer” because it goes undetected due to its invisible, odorless, colorless, tasteless nature.  The easiest way to protect yourself from this poison is to practice safe behaviors and install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. 
Safety Tips
• Have fireplaces and heating equipment serviced annually. 
• Ensure all dampers for fireplaces and fuel burning stoves remain open until the fire is completely out. 
• During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up. 
• Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. 
• Ensure gas generators are located in a well-ventilated area outside the home away from doors or windows. 
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
• Install CO alarms in a central location outside sleeping areas and on every level of the home. 
• Follow manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height. 
• Select a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.  
• Test the alarms once a month and replace units as recommended. 
• When you change your clock, change your battery! 
• If CO alarm sounds immediately move to fresh air and call your emergency number. 
Possible Signs and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning • Headache • Fatigue • Shortness of breath • Nausea • Dizziness 
For additional information about carbon monoxide and other safety topics visit www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal or contact Lisa Braun, Public Education Manager, at 571-258-3222.