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In a world with carbon monoxide alarms, why is carbon monoxide still a threat to our safety?

Portable Generators

Portable gas-powered generators provide power during blackouts.  If placed in garages or homes the CO emissions will build up to lethal levels within minutes.

Not everyone is aware that gas powered generators emit CO and the warnings and directions are not always clear.  In some cases, the directions will advise people to not leave the generator in the rain, causing people to bring them into their garages or homes.  Even placing generators to close to the home can cause carbon monoxide to vent into the home.  If not used outside and away from homes, generators can lead to severe injury and take lives.

Generator safety has been progressing over the past year, and new standards and regulations are developing.  Two recent developments are an automatic CO shut off and generators with lower emissions.  Our Blog Post – New Safety Standards for Portable Generators, presents the recent history of generator regulations and the new changes to come.

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PGMA, CPSC, UL, Blog - New Safety Standards for Portable Generators


The adoption of keyless ignition vehicles is one recent cause for concern with CO safety due to cars left running in garages.

In the 1970’s catalytic converters became mandatory in all cars, lowering the amount of carbon monoxide emitted.

Car exhaust continues to be a major source of accidental CO injury due to blocked or damaged tailpipes and faulty exhaust systems, unbeknownst to the helpless people in the car.

Blue Guard Technologies is working for change in CO safety by developing technology with the potential to make both cars and homes safer.  Their product coCO will detect high CO levels in cars and will shut down the car motor, while the same technology can be fitted to generators and home heating systems.  Read more:  Blue Guard Technologies – Setting New Standards of Safety.
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BlueGuard Technologies,

Furnaces, Water heaters, and Gas Appliances

CO is caused by the ‘incomplete burning of fuel’.  As fuel burning systems age they may burn fuel less efficiently leading to more carbon monoxide emissions.  Home heating systems, water heaters, gas appliances, and built-in fireplaces are meant to exhaust CO outside.  Anytime exhaust systems fail due to blockage or wear over time a home can fill with CO.

Knowing what type of heating systems and appliances are in your homes is an important step in learning how to prevent CO dangers at home.

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Boats & Airplanes

Like cars, boats and planes produce lethal amounts of CO in any enclosed or unventilated space.  This includes the air near the boat motor with little air circulation and covered boat docks.  Faulty ventilation systems will lead to lethal levels of CO within boat and plane cabins.

The State of Minnesota is the first state to develop a law that requires carbon monoxide alarms on boats.  Sophia’s Law took effect May 1, 2018.

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Read Blog: Sophia's Law

If the build up of carbon monoxide cannot be prevented, carbon monoxide alarms are essential.  There is nothing else protecting us from this silent and odorless gas.


Newer homes often have combination smoke and CO alarms.  Older homes may not.

This section will contain more information and updates on legistlation – link to news page Coming Soon

Apartments and Rental Properties

Several foundations have worked to help pass laws that require rental owners to equip all rental properties with CO alarms.  Unfortunately, this type of legistlation varies from state to state.

Link to News page with updates Coming Soon


In recent years, stories of CO poisoning incidents in hotels have made headlines.  Pool heaters are one major source of CO leaks within hotels.  Legistlation requiring hotels to have CO alarms varies from state to state.  Newer hotels that do have CO alarms commonly do not have alarms in each room.

Link to News page with updates Coming Soon