The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

In response to carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in the city of Boston, we wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about the dangers of carbon monoxide to help prevent further tragedies.

Carbon Monoxide is a very toxic gas that you cannot smell or see, so you might not realize you are being exposed it. It is produced whenever any fuel is burned. Symptoms of exposure may include mild headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, confusion, loss of consciousness, or even death.

Hundreds of people die accidentally each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes, but cars also pose a great risk. During a heavy snow fall, the exhaust pipe can get blocked, causing carbon monoxide to build up inside of your vehicle, reaching very toxic levels that can cause death within minutes. Unfortunately, this is not infrequent, as many people run their cars while shoveling snow and often take breaks inside their cars to stay warm, where poisonous fumes have built up.

Prevention Guidance for you and your loved ones.

How can I avoid CO poisoning from my vehicle?

  • Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car every year. A small leak in your car’s exhaust system can lead to a build up of CO inside the car.
  • Never run a car or truck in the garage with the garage door shut. CO can build up quickly while your car or truck is running in a closed garage. Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house, even if the door is open.
  • If you drive a vehicle with a tailgate, when you open the tailgate, you also need to open vents or windows to make sure air is moving through your car. If only the tailgate is open, CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the car.

In a Snow Storm: 

  • Never start your car until you have removed snow and ice to at least 1 foot back around your car, including your tailpipe, and have ensured your undercarriage is cleared. Any blockage of the tailpipe will cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the vehicle.
  • Keep your windows cracked open while warming your car after snow has been cleared.
  • Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in your car.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
Carbon monoxide deaths are preventable.
Tell a friend, you might save a life!
*Prevention guidelines courtesy of

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