Thanks to carbon monoxide protection measures that were put in place in 2007, there's no telling how many lives have been saved. That was the year that Minnesota required CO alarms to be installed in all newly constructed homes. Carbon Monoxide is invisible, odorless and potentially fatal gas.

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Have you had a family meeting about what to do when your Carbon Monoxide Detector beeps? My oldest son unplugged ours a couple months ago. When I asked him why, he said, "Because it was beeping and driving me crazy."

Luckily, it just needed a new battery. I checked to make sure it's still working and all is well. That could have easily been a devastating decision, so we sat down as a family and discussed what the different beeps mean when they hear them go off.


Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert, says, “It’s important to remember that CO can be produced by any fuel-burning device, and with people staying home more, this anniversary underscores the importance of replacing expiring alarms, as that is the only way to detect this poisonous gas and provide early warning.”

CO is a colorless and odorless gas that is impossible to detect without a sensing device. According to statistics, more than 50,000 emergency visits and approximately 450 deaths are attributed to accidental CO poisoning in the U.S. every year, making it the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the country.

CO can be produced by any fuel-burning device, including:

  • Heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Furnaces
  • Appliances
  • Cooking sources using coal, wood or petroleum products.

Make sure your family understands the dangers of CO Poisoning and create and share with your loved ones a family escape plan in the event of a CO emergency.


  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Long-term neurological disabilities
  • Cardiorespiratory failure
  • Death.


  • Install alarms. CO alarms are the only way to detect this poisonous gas. Make sure the alarms are installed at least 15 feet away from sources of CO to reduce the possibility of your alarm going off constantly.
  • Test alarms regularly. It is also important to test alarms monthly and change batteries every six months, unless the alarm is powered by a sealed, 10-year battery.
  • Never use generators indoors.
  • Never leave a vehicle running inside an attached garage. Even if the garage door is open, it is hazardous, as CO can leak into the home.
  • Have fuel-burning appliances inspected regularly. Arrange for a professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances (such as furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers and water heaters) annually.
  • Plan Your Escape. Walk through your home and search all possible exits and escape routes. Identify two ways out of each room, including windows and doors, and then practice your home emergency escape plan at least twice a year and make sure to plan a meeting spot. That way, if there is an emergency, everyone knows where to meet.
  • Call 911. If an alarm sounds, leave the home immediately and move to fresh air. Then call 911 and do not go back into the home until the home is inspected and cleared.

For more information on carbon monoxide safety, visit

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