Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide Overview

Carbon monoxide is truly an invisible danger.  What is it?  Where does it come from? How can it be avoided?  Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is emitted from incomplete burning. For example when wood, paper, plastic, rubber, gasoline, diesel, kerosene or natural gas burn, they leave behind certain by-products. One of those remaining by-products is a gas called carbon monoxide.  As a gas it is not detectable by our normal senses.  It is detected, however, by the body’s blood stream and has devastating toxic effects.  Carbon monoxide enters the blood stream through the lungs, displaces the oxygen and actually suffocates you from the inside out, resulting in brain damage or death.

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental deaths by poisoning.  It is responsible for 1500 deaths and 10,000 illnesses per year (not including suicide attempts by carbon monoxide poisonings). Twenty-five percent of carbon monoxide poisonings are misdiagnosed as flu like illnesses.  The body can not build up immunity to it.  It takes twice as long to exit the body as it does to enter.  At greatest risk to this deadly gas are unborn babies, infants and senior citizens.  Some of the most common hidden sources are gas ranges, faulty furnaces, improperly vented water heaters, fuel burning appliances, charcoal grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and running automobiles.


Mild/Slight – headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue.

Moderate/Severe – headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate.

Extreme – unconsciousness, convulsions, death.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors come in with three different types of power supplies; direct plug, hardwire, and power cord.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of a residence.  At a minimum, a single detector should be placed on each sleeping floor and also where any major gas burning appliances are present.  In general, carbon monoxide detectors should be placed high near the ceiling for most effective use.  ALWAYS consult the manufacturer installation instructions for proper placement of a detector within a given area.

For more information about carbon monoxide or carbon monoxide detectors, please contact Marysville Fire Department at (810) 364-6611.

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