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Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety

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Fires can start and spread in a matter of seconds. The most common causes of fires include cooking, heating, candles and smoking. In Massachusetts, heating is the number one cause of home fires. Unfortunately, across the U.S., nearly 7 people die every day from home fires. Therefore, it's important to be aware and prepared to keep you and your family safe in case of a fire emergency. 

Smoke Alarms 
  • Install smokes alarms on every level of your home. Smoke alarms are the best way to protect your family from fires. 
  • Make sure smoke alarms are installed near all bedrooms and living areas. 
  • Test your smoke alarm once a month.
  • Replace your smoke alarm every 10 years. 
  • Contact Boston Fire Department for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspections.
General Fire Safety
  • Never leave cooking unattended. Cooking is the #1 cause of fires in the U.S. 
  • Keep oven mitts, towels, and anything else that can catch on fire away from the stove.
  • Set a 3-foot safety zone away from the stove and oven for children. 
  • Store matches, candles, and lighters up and away from children. 
  • Remember to blow out candles when leaving the house or before going to bed. 
  • Use generators outdoors and away from windows and doors. 
  • Turn portable heaters off before leaving the house. 
  • Stay aware of winter weather and emergencies 
    • Sign up for AlertBoston to receive emergency alerts from the city. 
Fire Escape Plan 
  • Make and draw out a fire escape plan with your family. 
  • Make sure there are at least 2 ways out of every room. 
  • Have a safe outside meeting place for everyone to meet.
  • Practice the fire escape plan with everyone twice each year.
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What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused when carbon CO builds up in the bloodstream, preventing the body from using oxygen. This can cause damage to your organs, and can even cause death. Because you cannot see, taste, or smell it, people often do not realize that they are breathing CO. The only way to know if CO is in your home is with a CO detector. Therefore, it's important for families to have CO detectors installed on every level of their home, and to know how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Where does Carbon Monoxide come from? 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when fuels such as gas, propane and oil are not burned completely. Common sources of CO include stoves, dryers, and space heaters. In addition, a car enclosed inside of a garage or with a blocked tailpipe can also be a dangerous source for CO. Sources of CO.png

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

​Headache ​Confusion
​Shortness of breath
​Blurred Vision
Loss of consciousness 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home near bedrooms. 
  • Have your heating system and appliances inspected by a technician every year.
  • Never use a gas range or even to heat your home. 
  • Never use generators indoors, or near doors and windows. 
  • Never leave your car on inside of an enclosed garage. 
  • Clear out your tailpipe of debris and snow, especially during the winter. 


Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: