West Virginia

Department of
Health & Human Resources

Carbon Monoxide Detector Use Encouraged; Saves Lives

2/14/2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources 
Bureau for Public Health urges citizens to install carbon monoxide detectors in their 
homes, especially if they are heating their home with gas or oil furnaces, or are using 
generators, charcoal grills or other fuel burning devices within close proximity to their 
homes to help reduce the risk of serious injury or death. 
 
“Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the leading cause of poison-related death in the 
United States and is responsible for approximately 450 deaths and 20,000 nonfatal 
injuries every year,” said Dr. Letitia Tierney, commissioner for the Bureau for Public 
Health and State Health Officer. “Poisoning occurs when CO, an odorless, colorless, 
and tasteless gas, escapes from fuel-burning appliances and becomes trapped in 
enclosed spaces. Poisonings from CO are often caused by faulty furnaces, by 
improperly operating portable generators, or by using other fuel-burning devices 
indoors.” 
 
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, 
nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause 
loss of consciousness and death. People who are sleeping can die from CO poisoning 
before ever experiencing symptoms. 
Tierney suggests following these important steps to help keep your family safe. 
 
• Install battery-operated CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home. 
• Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly. 
• Have your gas or oil furnace inspected every year. 
• Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows 
are open. 
• Only use generators more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and 
windows. 
• Never use a charcoal grill inside. 
 
More information is available at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph or visit www.cdc.gov/co. 

Contact Information

Toby D. Wagoner, Public Information Officer, Bureau for Public Health, Telephone: (304) 356-4042