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

CO kills more than 400 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deadly CO can come from fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters), charcoal or from running a gas powered generator inside the home or garage. 

All Homes Should have CO Alarms

Every home should have a CO alarm on each level and 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.


Want to learn more about CO?  This toolkit from CPSC and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers consumers valuable safety tips for protecting their families from CO.  There are resources for fire departments and public safety educators  to help spread awareness in their communities about CO safety.

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)

Protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Install CO alarms in your home, test the alarms every month to make sure they are working, and replace batteries every year.

Stay Alive! (En Español)

Four deadly hazards to avoid after a storm.