SLC Fire Safety Tip – Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Salt Lake City Fire Tip of the Week
“Carbon Monoxide Alarms”
Nov. 3, 2014
Yesterday we set our clocks back an hour as part of daylight savings time. Did you remember to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?

A few weeks ago, the safety tip was on smoke alarms. (Click here)

This week we will focus on carbon monoxide, which is called the “Silent Killer?”

Carbon monoxide has been given this deadly nickname because it is an invisible, odorless and colorless gas that, when breathed in, prevents oxygen in the blood from being carried throughout the body, causing asphyxiation.

The Salt Lake Cty Fire Department encourages everyone to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from suffering the affects of carbon monoxide.

The effects depend on how much carbon monoxide (CO) is in the air, how long it is breathed, and how healthy and active, and an individual’ is as well as their sensitivity to carbon monoxide. Exposure to the gas is worse for older people, fetuses, and people with heart, circulatory, or lung disease.

Low concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause headache, loss of alertness, flu-like symptoms, nausea, fatigue, fast breathing, confusion, disorientation and overall weakness. In addition, it can cause chest pain in people with heart disease. It can also impair judgment and cause decreased learning ability in school children.

High concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause coma (unconsciousness) and death.

The gas is created when fuels, such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane, burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

When selecting your alarm, be sure to read the instructions, which will describe the different sounds the alarm will make, as well as let you know when the alarm will expire. You should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.

Once you have your alarms installed, follow these safety tips:

  • Test the alarm (as well as your smoke alarms) at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.

Click here for more information. 

Click here for previous Safety Tips.

For more information contact:

Jasen Asay
SLCFD Public Relations
Office: (801) 799-4125
Cell: (801) 597-4190,

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