OLYMPIA — Often referred to as the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as propane, natural gas, and wood. Heating and cooking equipment that use such fuels can be sources of carbon monoxide. The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office wants to encourage everyone to take precautions and practice safety year round.
The United States Fire Administration reports more than 150 people die of accidental non-fire-related carbon monoxide. From 2017 to 2021 the Washington State fire service reported 3,165 incidents related to carbon monoxide.
These tips can keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide:
• Choose a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
• CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on each level of the home.
• During and after a snowstorm, make sure that vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up or other debris.
• If a CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window.
• Test CO alarms at least once a month.
• CO poisoning can be by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.
• Gas and charcoal grills can produce CO, please remember to only use outside.
• Generators should be used outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929.