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Carbon Monoxide Safety

If you heat your home with a furnace or fireplace, or if you have a gas stove, you need to take precautions against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. When these appliances aren't properly ventilated and the windows are closed, the odorless, colorless  -- and toxic  -- gas can build up in the house. Installing a CO detector on every floor is a crucial step. What you can do to keep that alarm from ever going off:

* Every year, have a professional check appliances that burn fuel to make sure they're ventilated and working properly.

* Don't use a gas oven to heat your home  -- even if it's just for a few minutes.

* Never use a charcoal grill, which produces CO, in the fireplace or anywhere else inside the house.

* Make sure the flues are open when you use your fireplace.

* Warm up your car outside instead of in the garage, where fumes can build up quickly. (If you have an attached garage, CO can even travel into the house.)

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