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Hanford Fire Department

Carbon monoxide (CO) is often referred to as “the silent killer” because CO is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as gasoline, wood, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane. CO can accumulate due to faulty equipment or lack of functioning venting systems to remove CO safely to the outside. High levels of CO can cause severe physiological effects including unconsciousness and death within minutes.

Symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Symptoms of CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms including: shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness, or headaches.

Safety tips in the home:

  • Install CO alarms inside your home in a central location near sleeping areas.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month.
  • CO alarms are NOT substitutes for smoke alarms. You should have both in your home and know the difference between the sounds of each alarm.
  • Have fuel burning equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, wood stoves, space heaters, and chimneys) inspected annually by a professional before cold weather months.
  • When using a fireplace, ensure that the flue is open for proper ventilation.
  • Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.

Safety tips outside the home:

  • Never run a vehicle, generator, or other fueled engine inside your garage even if the garage door is open. If you need to warm your vehicle up, remove it from the garage after starting it.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside. Never use them inside the home or garage.

If your CO alarm sounds:

  • Immediately leave your home to a location with fresh air and call 9-1-1. Remain outside until fire personnel arrive and ensure that it is safe to reenter.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries and follow manufacturer’s instructions

Fire Safety Tips are prepared by Fire Captain Matthew Rowe of the Hanford Fire Department. Become a fan of the HFD by clicking “like” at the HFD on Twitter at

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