Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention : a toolkit : working together to keep communities safe
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Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention : a toolkit : working together to keep communities safe

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    Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the leading cause of poison-related death in the United States and is responsible for approximately 450 deaths and 20,000 nonfatal injuries every year. Poisoning occurs when CO—an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas—escapes from fuel-burning appliances and becomes trapped in enclosed spaces. Poisonings from CO are often caused by faulty furnaces, by improperly operating portable generators, or by using other fuel-burning devices indoors.

    CO poisoning is also in many ways predictable and preventable. As trusted sources of public health and safety information, state and local government agencies can be instrumental in warning the public about the dangers of CO poisoning and in educating them about taking these simple precautions:

    • Installing battery-operated CO detectors in the home;

    • Having gas- and oil-burning appliances regularly inspected and maintained; and

    • Keeping portable generators more than 20 feet from the home.

    This toolkit, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presents research-based strategies for preventing CO poisoning. It was developed to support the CO poisoning prevention efforts of public information officers working within state departments of health, emergency management and preparedness, and consumer safety at the federal, state, municipal, and community levels. The messages and materials it contains can be used to develop effective communication activities or campaigns. However, non-governmental and other groups also may be interested in adopting these strategies and using these materials.

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  • Content Notes:
    Introduction -- About CO Poisoning in the U.S. -- Public Understanding of CO Poisoning and Its Risks -- Key Messages for Prevention -- Strategies and Tools for Prevention.
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