April 2021: Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Month

WHEREAS, each year, approximately 140 people in Michigan are hospitalized, and, across the United States, thousands are poisoned and at least 430 people die from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning; and,


WHEREAS, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas known as the "Invisible Killer," requiring an electronic sensor to detect; and,


WHEREAS, each year, across the United States, accidental CO poisoning is responsible for at least 50,000 emergency room visits and 430 deaths; and,


WHEREAS, 70% of CO poisonings happen in the home, but only 12% of families in the U.S. have properly functioning CO detectors installed in their homes; and,


WHEREAS, communities who are socially and economically disadvantaged are at greater risk of CO poisoning, because these populations tend to have older appliances, vehicles, and yard tools that emit more CO and/or have fewer safety features designed to prevent CO poisoning; and,


WHEREAS, CO poisoning symptoms are nondescript and similar to other illnesses including, headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and confusion; and,


WHEREAS, children, due to a faster respiratory rate and smaller body size, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma or cardiovascular disease, are particularly susceptible to the negative health effects of CO exposure; and,


WHEREAS, CO is produced by the improper operation and ventilation of fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, ovens, fireplaces, generators, portable heaters, charcoal grills, and vehicles, and unintentional CO poisoning can occur almost anywhere - in homes, businesses, RVs, cabins, boats, and ice shanties; and,


WHEREAS, CO poisoning is also caused by the incomplete combustion of fuels including oil, propane, natural gas, wood, coals, kerosene, gasoline, and diesel; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan residents can reduce the risk of CO poisoning by following these simple steps:

  • Install a CO detector near your bedroom so it will wake you when it alarms;
  • Replace the batteries and test the CO detector before starting your furnace or portable generator;
  • Never use generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves, lawn tools, or other fuel-burning devices in the home, basement, or garage. These devices should only be used in well-ventilated areas, and you should follow all manufacturer's operating directions. Generators must be located outside at least 25 feet away from your home;
  • Keep furnaces and other appliances in proper working order through annual inspections by a certified technician trained in using an electronic CO sensor;
  • Remember to turn your car off in the garage. Never warm up your car inside the garage;
  • If you suspect you have been exposed to CO, leave the area immediately and then call your local fire department or utility company; and,


WHEREAS, awareness of CO safety in Michigan is a top priority, and residents are encouraged to visit www.miprevention.org to learn about this poisonous gas and ensure homes, workplaces, equipment, and appliances are equipped and maintained to protect themselves and loved ones against possible poisoning;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2021 as Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Month in Michigan.