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Carbon Monoxide

Key Points

The Invisible Killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. You can’t taste, see or smell CO, but it can kill in just minutes. Appliances fueled with natural gas, liquefied petroleum (LP gas), oil, kerosene, coal, or wood may produce CO. Burning charcoal also produces CO.

Never Use a Generator or Burn Charcoal inside the Home

CO kills more than 400 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deadly CO can come from fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters), charcoal or from running a gas powered generator inside the home or garage. 

All Homes Should have CO Alarms

Every home should have a CO alarm on each level and in the hallway near the bedroom(s) in each separate sleeping area. CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure you install battery operated or plug-in CO alarms that have battery back-up.


  • Carbon Monoxide Safety Toolkit
    • Want to learn more about CO?  This toolkit from CPSC and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers consumers valuable safety tips for protecting their families from CO.  There are resources for fire departments and public safety educators  to help spread awareness in their communities about CO safety.
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