Carbon Monoxide Toolkit

ou can’t taste, see or smell CO, but it can kill in just minutes.

Key Points


The Invisible Killer


Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. You can’t taste, see or smell CO, but it can kill in just minutes. Appliances fueled with natural gas, liquefied petroleum (LP gas), oil, kerosene, coal, or wood may produce CO. Burning charcoal also produces CO.


Never Use a Generator or Burn Charcoal inside the Home


For 2002-2004, an average of 166 people in the United States died from unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning. Some died from CO produced by fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters). Others died from CO produced while burning charcoal or running a gas powered generator inside the home or garage. Several thousand people went to hospital emergency rooms for treatment for CO poisoning.


All Homes Should have CO Alarms


Every home should have a CO alarm in the hallway near the bedroom(s) in each separate sleeping area. CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure you install battery operated or plug-in CO alarms that have battery back-up.




The Invisible Killer (pdf)

Reviews sources of carbon monoxide (CO) and clues to a possible carbon monoxide problem in the home.


Portable Generator Danger

Links to posters, safety cards, door hangers, safety alerts and public service announcements all aimed at promoting safety with generators and reducing CO deaths.


What to Know: Generators and CO

Safety tips to use when using portable generators.


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Camping Equipment (pdf)

A safety alert discussing carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from camping equipment such as portable camping heaters, lanterns, stoves, campers and vehicles. Also, provides prevention advice and information on how to recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning.


Responding to Residential Carbon Monoxide Incidents (pdf)

A guide to first responders on dealing with incidents of carbon monoxide exposure.


Inspect, Detect and Protect Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (En Español)

Each year more than 150 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with fuel-burning consumer products.


Stay Alive! (En Español)

Four deadly hazards to avoid after a storm.