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The Silent Killer: Get the Facts About Carbon Monoxide

Kidde 900-0146-UK
Carbon Monoxide Detector

by Terri Wiebold

The recent tragedies of a DU student and a Denver area family have many Castle Pines residents asking the question, “What do I need to know to protect myself and my family from Carbon Monoxide poisoning?”

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning material containing carbon. It is extremely toxic to humans and animals. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it; but carbon monoxide can quickly kill you.

Carbon monoxide is produced by many common household appliances and from vehicle exhaust systems. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide can build up, causing flu like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage and death.

According to South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) Public Information Officer Andy Lyon, a common mistake people make – especially in the winter – is warming up their cars in a closed garage. “The majority of the homes in the Castle Pines area have attached garages and people run their cars with the doors shut,” said Lyon. “This is very dangerous and sometimes deadly.”

If anyone shows symptoms of CO poisoning or if a CO detector alarm sounds a continuous alarm, immediately evacuate the premises and move to an area with fresh air. Remember, CO cannot be seen, smelled or tasted so do not rely on the senses to determine whether the alarm is real or false.

Once safely evacuated, call 911 and the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority will respond to investigate the alarm. For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to protect your family, go to



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