Action Steps

• Never use charcoal grills or run engines inside your home, garage, or basement even for a short time. Charcoal grills and small gasoline engines make a lot of carbon monoxide. Even opening all the windows and doors will not give you enough fresh air to prevent

CO poisoning.

• Never warm up a vehicle inside the garage. Warming up your car, truck, or motorcycle on a cold day for just a couple of minutes (even with the garage door open) can make enough CO to make you sick. Start lawnmowers, snow blowers, and other yard equipment outdoors.

• Have a heating contractor check your furnace, chimneys, and other sources of CO every fall to make sure everything is okay. (You can find one in the telephone book.) Make sure they use a tool that measures CO. To get harmful gases out of a home, many heating appliances have chimneys. (Chimneys on gas appliances are called vents). The chimney carries CO and other gases from the appliance outdoors. If your appliances and vents are working right there should be little CO. If you rent, ask your landlord to have the heating system checked.

• Make sure chimneys are in good shape— clean and working right. Have your chimney, wood-burning fireplace, or wood stove swept every year. Burning wood nearly always makes a lot of CO. It is very important that all the smoke goes out the chimney.

• If you use unvented kerosene or gas heaters OR a vent-free gas fireplace, follow instructions carefully and open a window for fresh air. Do not use them while sleeping.

Safety Checklist

If you answered yes to any of the starred questions on page 25 pay special attention to this checklist. Remember, putting in and taking care of heating appliances like stoves and furnaces can be dangerous. Only trained and qualified workers should do this.

• Turn off an appliance or heater that starts making different noises, smells funny, starts sooting, has a different-looking flame, or does not seem to be working right. Call a heating contractor for repairs.

• Read and follow the instructions that came with your appliance or unvented gas heater.

• Provide good ventilation for all heating appliances.

• Keep all wood, paper, cloth, and furniture away from heating appliances.

• Don't block an appliance's air openings.

• Have all appliances checked every year by a qualified heating contractor.

• Ask the contractor to check for carbon monoxide and look at the vent (chimney) system.

• If you insulate and weather-strip your home, call a heating contractor to make sure there is still enough ventilation.

If you smell gas or if the smoke detector or the carbon monoxide alarm goes off, leave the building right away and call 9-1-1.

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