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Carbon Monoxide Detector Use Encouraged; Saves Lives



February 14, 2014

Carbon Monoxide Detector Use Encouraged; Saves Lives

Up to 450 deaths and 20,000 injuries, nationally, attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning annually

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 or visit

Contact Information

WV Center for Threat Preparedness
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Center for Threat Preparedness | 505 Capitol Street, Suite 200, Charleston, WV 25301 | Ph: 304.558.6900 | Fx: 304.558.0464
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