Boise and Meridian Fire Departments Warn of the Hazards of CO as Winter Weather Approaches

November 20, 2019

The weather is getting cold quickly, with that in mind, the Boise and Meridian Fire Departments want to share some reminders when it comes to carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon monoxide is often called the invisible killer. It is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of CO. A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

Safety Tips

  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it.
  • Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.

“We recommend buying a CO detector that has a digital display. That way you can see what the reading is if the alarm goes off. If your alarm does go off, exit the building and wait for the fire department to come check out your residence to see if they can find the problem,” said Joe Bongiorno, Deputy Chief – Fire Marshal Meridian Fire.

Learn more about carbon monoxide alarms

Contact: Boise Fire Media Relations

(208) 570-6548 | cjackson@cityofboise.org

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