General Safety Tips

  • If you need to warm up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle, generator, or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Carbon Monoxide (CO) from a running vehicle or generator inside an attached garage can get inside the house, even with the garage door open. Normal circulation does not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent dangerous accumulations inside.
  • If you have any symptoms of CO poisoning, have your vehicle inspected for exhaust leaks.
  • Have fuel-burning household heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, and space or portable heaters) checked every year before cold weather sets in.
  • All chimneys and chimney connectors should be evaluated by a qualified technician to verify proper installation, and check for cracks, blockages, or leaks. Make needed repairs before using the equipment.
  • Before enclosing central heating equipment in a smaller room, check with your fuel supplier to ensure that air for proper combustion is provided. NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code, provides requirements for openings to allow sufficient air for the proper combustion of gas.
  • When using a fireplace, open the flue for adequate ventilation.
  • Open a window slightly whenever using a kerosene or gas heater. (Kerosene heaters are illegal in many states. Always check with local authorities before buying or using one.)
  • Only refuel outside, after the device has cooled.
  • Only use barbecue grills, which can produce CO, outside. Never use them in the home or garage.
  • When purchasing new heating and cooking equipment, select factory-built products approved by an independent testing laboratory. Do not accept damaged equipment. Hire a qualified technician (usually employed by the local oil or gas company) to install the equipment. Ask about, and insist that the technician follow, applicable fire safety and local building codes.
  • When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the integrity of the heating and cooking systems, as well as the sealed spaces between the garage and house.
  • When camping, remember to use battery-powered heaters and flashlights in tents, trailers, and motor homes. Using fossil fuels inside these structures is extremely dangerous. NFPA 501, Standard on Recreational Vehicles, requires the installation of CO detectors in recreational vehicles.
  • Boat operators should be aware that CO is emitted from any boat's exhaust. When your boat is moored or anchored alongside others', be aware of the effect your exhaust may have on those vessels and vice versa. The trim of the boat, as well as side curtains, can contribute to increased concentrations of CO by altering the air flow. Fuel burning appliances located in accommodation spaces need to be properly ventilated and maintained.