Redding Fire Dept: Carbon Monoxide Detectors Crucial for Safety

REDDING, Calif. - Fire officials said Carbon Monoxide detectors in your home are not only important for your safety, but it's also the law.

Redding Fire Batallion Chief Steve Reilly said almost every home has some sort of gas appliance. This could be a fireplace, a wood stove, a generator, even a car.

If any fuels don't completely burn, Carbon Monoxide (CO) can escape from the appliance and go into the atmosphere.

CO is colorless and odorless so the only way to tell if this happens is if you have a detector.

If your home doesn't already have one, it's easy and fairly cheap to go out and buy one. Most plug right into an outlet and can be purchased at almost any home improvement store. The cost runs about $20.

"This buys you protection that you don't have when you're sleeping. You're sleeping with your enemy basically with a colorless, odorless, tasteless enemy and the only chance you have is with that detector," Reilly said.
Reilly said that every home is required to have a Carbon Monoxide detector by law. This year, every apartment complex is supposed to have them and by 2016, hotels and motels will be required to have them too. 

If you don't have a detector, it can be difficult to detect a CO in a building and it doesn't take much for it to affect a person.

Reilly said the most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness.

He said the first thing you want to do if you're experiencing these symptoms is get out of the building for fresh air immediately. Most times, that alone will get rid of any problem if you haven't been exposed for too long.

Reilly said if you don't have an detector to warn you of high CO level and your exposed to it for a long period of time, it can be extremely dangerous.

Nationwide, Reilly said there are about 500 Carbon Monoxide deaths a year. Locally, he said they have several calls every year. Most of those don't result in any injuries because the people have a detector.

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