Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, poisonous gas that you cannot see or smell. It is produced when liquid, solid or gas fuel is burned — such as natural gas, propane, oil, charcoal, wood and wood pellets. Dozens of Vermonters go to the emergency room each year for CO-related symptoms. Between 2013 and 2016, at least one death every year was attributed to CO poisoning.
The colder months are an especially risky time for CO poisoning, when we turn on the heat and buildings are closed up tight. If you lose power, never run a generator, grill, camp stove, kerosene heater, or other fuel-burning equipment indoors. Have all fuel-burning heating systems and appliances inspected and serviced every year by a Vermont-certified technician, including furnaces, boilers, wood stoves, chimneys, hot water heaters, stoves and clothes dryers. Be sure to clear any snow away from vents of fuel-burning equipment so they don't get blocked. And never leave a vehicle running inside a garage, even if the door is open.
Install at least one CO alarm with a battery backup near all sleeping areas and on each level of your home, and test it monthly. Change the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach and vomiting. These symptoms can be confused with the flu. Go outside immediately to get fresh air, then dial 9-1-1 if your CO alarm goes off or you suspect CO poisoning.
Check out a video and more tips on how to stay safe from CO poisoning