Carbon Monoxide Awareness

When appliances are installed properly and operating efficiently, natural gas burns cleanly, with little residue. However, if your natural gas appliance is not operating efficiently or not vented properly, carbon monoxide can be produced.

Carbon monoxide, also called CO, is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can make you sick and, in some circumstances, may be deadly. Carbon monoxide is created by the incomplete or improper burning of fuel.

Be aware of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Always be alert to the possibility of exposure to carbon monoxide. Learn to recognize the following symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Initially, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, including headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, increased perspiration, nausea, weakness and vomiting.
  • As carbon monoxide levels increase, symptoms may become more severe and include shortness of breath, extreme muscular weakness, intermittent convulsions, mental confusion and unconsciousness.
  • Severe poisoning can cause such symptoms as change in skin color to pink, lips and mucous membranes change in color to cherry red, and heart and lung failure.

What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Immediately leave the building.
  • Call 911 or call your local fire or police department and if necessary, request medical assistance. Or call Oklahoma Natural Gas at 800-458-4251.
  • Do not re-enter the building until it has been determined safe by emergency response personnel.
  • Immediately seek medical assistance for any symptoms, even those you think are minor.

To report a natural gas odor or emergency, leave the area immediately and then call 911 and 800-458-4251.