Carbon monoxide safety

What is carbon monoxide? 

Carbon monoxide is a gas that often goes undetected because it’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, kerosene heaters, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators, and furnaces.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms

Symptoms vary in severity based on the degree and duration of exposure. People with mild symptoms may think they have the flu without the fever because the signs are similar. Low to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning causes:

High-level carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms

Home prevention tips

Very harmful levels of carbon monoxide can build up in a few minutes, even when doors and windows are open.

What to do if the detector alarm sounds

If your carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm, gather all occupants including pets, go outside immediately, and call 911 and then call Avista at (800) 227-9187. Don’t reenter your home until emergency personnel tell you it’s safe to do so.

Drop of a pen leads to carbon monoxide prevention 

Katie has always been a safety-minded person, but after she had a son, that inclination went into overdrive. Katie had a perfectly kid-proofed house, a car seat with the highest safety rating, and of course, she knew what to do if she smelled natural gas in her home.

Despite all this know-how, it wasn’t until she was at her sister’s house on a Saturday morning that Katie realized she had overlooked a crucial component of home safety. Katie and her sister Miranda sat at the kitchen table discussing a movie they’d both recently seen. When Katie accidentally knocked a pen to the floor and knelt down to grab it, she noticed a small device plugged into an electrical outlet. It almost looked like a smoke detector, but she didn’t quite recognize it.

“What is that?,” Katie asked her sister.

“Oh, it’s a carbon monoxide detector. Your house doesn’t have them?”

Immediately, it dawned on Katie that her older home didn’t have any carbon monoxide sensors installed. Miranda went on to explain how carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and toxic for humans and animals. 

Katie was alarmed enough to pull out her phone and do some research. She read that carbon monoxide detectors are required on new homes, and essential for any home that uses natural gas, wood stoves, or propane. She also learned about the symptoms discussed above.

On the way home, Katie stopped and bought two carbon monoxide detectors—one for each floor of her home. A $40 investment provided Katie with invaluable peace of mind!

It only took a small, easy, and inexpensive step to safeguard her family from a serious health problem caused by this odorless, colorless gas. So if you don’t have a detector, buy a standalone device or a combo smoke and carbon monoxide detector as soon as possible to protect yours! And please follow the other safety tips included in this blog.


At Avista, customer safety is always our number one concern. Learn more about natural gas safety.

Natural gas safety

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