Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-280-0694
Media Information Line: 703-324-3000
News Release 09-77
Date: November 5, 2009
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is invisible, odorless, and a tasteless toxic gas. It causes about 300 accidental fatalities in homes each year; thousands more are treated in hospitals for CO poisoning.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning exposure include: headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and confused thinking (victims do not think clearly enough to get assistance). Without treatment, the victim will lose consciousness and their life if not helped. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels.
Common causes include:
- Faulty gas or oil furnaces and water heaters.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Cracked chimney flues.
- Indoor use of charcoal grills.
- Use of a gas oven or range to warm a room.
- Running a car in an enclosed area.
- Closing the fireplace damper before the fire is completely out.
Carbon monoxide accidents are preventable. Actions you should take to protect your family include:
- Have a qualified technician inspect your gas furnace and appliances.
- Never allow your car to run in an enclosed area, especially if it is attached to your house.
- Make sure your fireplace is in good repair and do not close the damper before the fire is out.
- Install CO alarms to give your family a warning if CO is building up in your house.