How fast can carbon monoxide become lethal?

Posted at 3:03 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-06 18:31:59-05

Carbon monoxide is sometimes called the "silent killer" which is why Phoenix Fire Department is hoping to teach Valley residents a little more about it.

Levels of the gas can quickly accumulate in small spaces, making it dangerous, if not lethal, very quickly. Fire officials performed a test Wednesday afternoon to show just how quickly unsafe conditions can happen.

Here are some important things to know about carbon monoxide:

  • The colorless, odorless gas does not rise quickly, instead lingering in the air.
  • The source of carbon monoxide is anything burning a substance that contains carbon like gasoline, natural gas, wood, propane or coal.
  • Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness and confusion. Longer exposure can lead to coordination issues, chest pain, vomiting, passing out, or death.
  • Just 1 percent of a room's air taken up by carbon monoxide can be lethal in one to three minutes.
  • Be aware of levels and prevent poisoning by installing detectors, checking proper functions of appliances and fireplaces, keeping all grills outside and never running gas engines inside.