If carbon monoxide (CO) alarms aren’t installed and maintained in your home, then you and everyone in your household could be at risk of CO poisoning, Wauseon Fire Chief Rick Sluder has advised.
According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), carbon monoxide alarms inside your home provide an early warning of the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations as required by laws, codes or standards.
CPSC recommends that consumers look for UL or CSA listings on the packaging and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home so they sound simultaneously.
“Some homes may not have functioning carbon monoxide alarms,” Sluder said. “We want all residents to understand the requirements for CO alarms.”
CO alarms can mean the difference between life and death, Sluder added. He said CO is often called the invisible killer because it is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Sources of lethal CO levels in the home can include heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel, vehicles running in an attached garage, and portable generators operating inside a home, shed or attached garage.
The Wauseon Fire Department, NFPA, and the CPSC offer the following tips to ensure CO alarms are maintained and working properly:
• Install and maintain CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations, as required by laws, codes, or standards.
• For combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms, follow directions for smoke alarm installation.
• Test CO alarms once a month; replace them if they fail to respond correctly when tested.
• Replace the CO alarm according to manufacturer’s instructions or when the end-of-life signal sounds.
• Know the difference between the sound of the CO alarm and the smoke alarm, and each alarm’s low-battery signals. If the audible low-battery signal sounds, replace the batteries, or replace the device.
• CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms, and vice versa. Know the difference.
Fulton County residents with questions or concerns can contact their local fire department or visit www.nfpa.org/CO.