News Release: How to Catch a Silent Killer

Media Release

Contact Information:
Nathan Hunerwadel, PIO
Cell: 720-879-2462

How to Catch a Silent Killer

Centennial, Colo. January 7, 2015 – Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. It is often called "the silent killer" because it is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can delete the bloodstream of oxygen in both humans and animals.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than one hundred fifty people die from accidental non-fire related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning—mostly associated with combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, stoves, lanterns, and by burning charcoal and wood.

Faulty furnaces and other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages can also product CO. The danger lies when CO builds up in an enclosed area or semi-enclosed space. Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than oxygen. As the amount of CO in the body increases, oxygen is blocked which can damage vital tissue, and result in death.

Throughout this week READYColorado will share tips on how to catch this silent killer.

Contact READYColorado for an interview or follow the blog at or the READYColorado social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.

Know the Symptoms of CO Poisoning

  • At moderate exposure levels, the most common symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness.
  • Exposure to undetected high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.
  • The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
  • High levels of CO ingestion can cause loss of consciousness and death.
  • Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses.
  • People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.

If you Suspect CO Poisoning

  • Immediately move everyone and pets to a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window or door).
  • Account for everyone inside the home.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window).
  • Remain at a fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive.Simple Steps to Protect Yourself and 

 Your Family from Deadly Carbon Monoxide Fumes

  • Install a CO Alarm.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, have CO alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Combination smoke-CO alarms must be installed in accordance with requirements for smoke alarms.
  • CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms and vice versa. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and the sound of CO alarms.

READYColorado is Colorado's official source for homeland security and all-hazards preparedness information. This campaign is supported by numerous public and private partners.

READYColorado began as a project funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program known as the Denver Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). Using a regional approach, UASI unites many metro area cities, emergency response agencies, and private partners together to enhance preparedness and response capabilities. The campaign transitioned to the State of Colorado in 2011 and is currently managed by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) within the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS).