Protect Yourself From Carbon Monoxide
Subject: THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CAUTIONS AGAINST
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING THIS WINTER
THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CAUTIONS
AGAINST CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING THIS WINTER
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of
Health (DOH) urges Floridians to take precautions to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning during the cold winter
months. As temperatures drop, the potential for CO poisonings and deaths
“Carbon monoxide can be fatal if people
are exposed to high levels, even for short periods of time,” said Dr. Lisa Conti, Director of the DOH Division of
Environmental Health. “Floridians who use indoor gas heaters and fireplaces should ensure the heaters exhaust to
the outdoors, regularly check and maintain fuel burning appliances, have a working CO alarm in their homes and be
aware of the signs of CO poisoning.”
Invisible, odorless and tasteless, CO is a
highly poisonous gas produced by burning fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, kerosene, charcoal and wood. Inside a
home, CO can come from a gas-fueled furnace, gas water heater, gas clothes dryer, gas ranges, kerosene space
heaters, portable generators, gas or charcoal grills, fireplaces or wood stoves. The risk of illness or death
increases with the level of CO in the air and the amount of time exposed. Dangerous CO levels can result when home
appliances are not properly maintained or when used incorrectly. Anyone who suspects symptoms of CO poisoning
should go outside immediately. If a person has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 for emergency medical
assistance immediately from a safer location (outside or from a neighbor's
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
* Impaired vision and
* Dizziness, confusion or
How to prevent carbon monoxide
and use fuel-burning appliances according to manufacturer instructions.
* Have fuel-burning appliances
inspected and serviced annually by a licensed contractor.
* Inspect exhaust ventilation
systems every year, including chimneys, flues and vents.
* NEVER burn charcoal inside a
house, garage, vehicle or tent, even in a fireplace.
* Avoid using unvented gas or
kerosene heaters in enclosed spaces, especially sleeping areas.
* NEVER leave an automobile
running in a garage, even with the garage door open.
* Do not leave the rear window
or tailgate of a vehicle open while driving. CO from the exhaust can be pulled inside the car, van or
* Install CO alarms inside the
house. Purchase battery operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup according to manufacturer’ s
* The CO alarm should meet the
most recent UL 2034 standard, IAS 6-96 standard or the CSA 6.19.01 standard.
* Replace CO alarm batteries
once a year and test alarms frequently.
* Replace CO alarms once every
five years in accordance with recommendations by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
* NEVER use a portable
generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds and other enclosed or partially
* ALWAYS place portable
generators outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents and air conditioning equipment that could
allow CO to enter.
DOH promotes, protects and improves the
health of all people in Florida. For more information about suspected poisoning emergencies, call the Florida
Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222. To learn more about indoor air quality,
visit www.doh.state. fl.us/Environmen t/community/ indoor-air/
carbon.htmor call 1-800-543-8279.