Because of the icy road conditions lately, you’ve probably kept your family indoors recently to make sure they were safe. But if you aren’t careful this winter, you risk new dangers inside your home.

Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas. The Texas Department of State Health Services says, “Several household sources, such as gasoline-powered tools and generators, produce carbon monoxide. Anything that burns can produce carbon monoxide. The fumes are extremely hazardous and can cause sudden illness or death.

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous to infants, women who are pregnant and their unborn children, the elderly and people with heart or breathing problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) recommends taking the following steps to prevent carbon monoxide exposure:

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.