From PSE&G and the Office of Emergency Management: Carbon Monoxide Safety

Every day, we count on heating systems to warm our homes and businesses, stoves to cook our meals, hot water heaters to warm our showers, and lawn mowers and snow blowers to keep our surroundings manicured and clear.

Most of the time, fuel-burning appliances and equipment work as expected to make our lives easier and more convenient. However, when they don’t work as they should, or are used improperly, they can cause a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide (CO) in the air.

You cannot see or smell CO, but small amounts are in the air when fuel is burned. These amounts are usually not harmful, but when too much CO builds up, it can be poisonous and deadly.

While CO poisoning is a year-round threat, it is more common in cold weather when fuel-burning heating equipment is in use. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. They can occur immediately or gradually after long-term exposure.

If you think there are high levels of CO are in your home or business, go outside! If there is a medical emergency, such as someone falling unconscious, take the person outside to fresh air and call 911. Then call PSE&G’s emergency service line at 1-800-880-PSEG (7734). Wait outside until help arrives.

For Safety’s Sake:

  • Make sure all fuel-burning appliances are maintained and operate properly. Appliances include gas and oil furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges, space heaters and gas clothes dryers. Improperly vented fireplaces can also give off CO.
  • Install CO detectors as protection. They can provide an early warning before CO builds up to dangerous levels. Install a CO detector in every area of your home or business. Regularly check the batteries.
  • Do not allow vehicles, snow blowers or any gasoline-powered engine to idle in a garage or enclosed space. CO can drift inside and create a hazardous situation.