From the Michigan State Police
As temperatures continue to hover around 0 degrees with wind chills at 25 below or colder, citizens are encouraged to be aware of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide poisoning when using alternative heating sources to warm their homes.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas produced when fossil fuels—such as coal, gasoline, natural gas and oil—are burned. In only minutes, deadly fumes can develop in enclosed spaces. When you breathe carbon monoxide, it enters the bloodstream and cuts off delivery of oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.
The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. As more of this gas is inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death. If you do suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move yourself, your family and pets to fresh air quickly and immediately call 911.
“Think twice before using a gas stove or gas heater to heat your house or garage,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “Within minutes, the fumes could overcome you and your family and ultimately cause death.”
Families are encouraged to follow these carbon monoxide poisoning prevention tips:
Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline or charcoal burning devices inside of homes, basements, garages, or near a window. These appliances give off carbon monoxide, which can build up quickly in a home.
Follow operating and maintenance instructions for fuel-burning appliances and equipment.
Do not use a cooktop or oven to heat your home as these appliances are not designed for this purpose and may result in carbon monoxide poisonings.
Do not let a vehicle run in an attached garage.
Do not sleep in a room with an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater.
Ensure your home has a battery operated carbon monoxide detector, which can be purchased at local home improvement and retail stores.
Get your furnace checked every year to make sure it isn’t leaking carbon monoxide.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention, visit