LEONARDTOWN, Md. – The Department of Emergency Services reminds citizens about the critical importance of having Carbon Monoxide Detectors in homes.

Carbon Monoxide is a gas that you cannot see, taste or smell and in the home. Fuel-powered devices can provide wonderful benefits to families when used correctly, and these devices emit carbon monoxide. Subsequently, carbon monoxide poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in garages. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause severe side effects or death. It is vitally important to have and maintain a working carbon monoxide detector.

Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. If you don’t have one, please go out and get one. As with smoke alarms, you should have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances. You won’t know that you have a carbon monoxide leak without a working alarm. Remember to test alarms regularly and replace them every five to seven years, depending on the manufacturer’s label.

Harmful carbon monoxide fumes come from many sources. Awareness and safety precautions can prevent tragedies. Don’t use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.  If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it and never leave a vehicle engine running inside a garage, even if the doors are open. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. Outside of your home, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.

If your carbon monoxide detector alarm goes off, immediately move outdoors. Account for everyone inside your home. Call 911 or the fire department and remain outside until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.

Visit prepare.stmarysmd.com, for more information on preparedness.