Carbon monoxide (CO) is toxic, odorless, colorless, tasteless gas known for its ability to kill. Its earliest symptoms include severe headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and nausea, which can often be mistaken for the flu. More severe symptoms include confusion, irritability, and impaired judgment, memory and coordination. If not caught in time, CO gas can kill an adult in less than 20 minutes.
CO is produced from combustible materials as they burn, especially from gas-powered engines. Being outdoors slows down the rate at which you are poisoned, but occurs more quickly in an enclosed area. An attached garage can easily seep CO gas into your home, and can remain at dangerous levels in your garage for up to 10 hours. Therefore, it is important to use CO producing devices outside of your garage and away from your home.
Both propane and charcoal grills emit CO gas when in use. People have died from CO poisoning after bringing what they believed to be extinguished coals into their garage. Not-quite-extinguished coals may reignite causing CO gas to become trapped in an enclosed area. To be safe, operate all grills outside of the home away from open windows and doors regardless of the weather, and do not bring used coals into your home or garage.
Although CO poisoning by car is more common in winter due to the common practice of warming cars, it can also happen in the summer. The best way to prevent CO poisoning anytime of the year is to wait until all of your passengers and items are in your car before turning it on. Once the car is on, drive out of your garage immediately. If you have to leave your car running for a few minutes, drive it out of your garage so the gas is not trapped in your garage.
Like cars, lawn mower engines produce CO gas when in use. Never leave the engine of your lawn mower running in your garage. Instead, wheel it out to your lawn before you turn it on.
To prevent CO from entering your home, use all CO producing devices outside at least 25 feet from your home. Never operate a grill or gas burning engine in your garage, even if the garage door is open. Most importantly, install CO monitors throughout your home to protect you and your family. Seacoast Security provides CO systems that are monitored 24/7, offering our customers the best protection from CO poisoning. Call (800) 654-8800 to discuss installing a new system.