Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
After the Flood
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be lethal at high levels. Carbon monoxide levels can build up rapidly and cause serious illness and death if certain types of combustion devices, such as gasoline-powered generators, are used indoors. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Never operate a combustion device, such as a generator, indoors.
- Never open doors and windows or use fans as a strategy to prevent the accumulation of CO in the home. Circulating air will not prevent CO buildup.
- Never use combustion devices within 10 ft. of windows, doors or other air intakes.
- Have vents and chimneys checked to assure that debris does not block or impede the exhaust from water heaters and gas furnaces.
- Get to fresh air immediately and seek medical care as soon as possible if you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak, or experience a headache, chest pain or confusion. The skin under the fingernails may also turn cherry-red if you have been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector that is Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) approved (such as UL ). These are generally available at local hardware stores. Carbon Monoxide is lighter than air, so detectors should be placed closer to the ceiling. Detectors should be placed close enough to sleeping areas to be heard by sleeping household members.
For more information, please visit the Carbon Monoxide section of the EPA’s website.