NASFM:  "A Strong, United Voice for Fire Prevention"



Claiming 400 Lives Annually, the NASFM is Leading Efforts to Raise Awareness of the “Invisible Killer”: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Resolution to Institute National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week Established

(Nov. 5, 2017) – A resolution introduced this past October by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) is seeking to officially designate November 5-12, 2017 as National Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Awareness Week. CO poisoning is a proven dangerous threat, claiming approximately 450 lives annually, with another 21,000 Americans sent to emergency rooms due to unintentional poisonings, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), along with Safe Kids, has established the Awareness Week and is leading the charge to bring increased awareness to this “Invisible Killer.” Per the CDC, CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America, and because CO is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas, many people are initially unaware they are even being poisoned. 

“It’s important we all pay close attention to the potentially fatal effects of CO poisoning,” said NASFM President and Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Butch Browning. “especially as we all begin to use home heating devices as colder weather approaches.”


CO is produced anytime a fuel is burned. Potential sources of CO include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes. CO bonds to hemoglobin in red blood cells and prevents oxygen from reaching vital organs, such as the brain and heart, causing dizziness, headache, and other flu-like symptoms. At high concentration levels, CO can cause loss of consciousness and even death, and people who are sleeping or intoxicated are more susceptible to succumbing to CO poisoning.

“Winter can be a deadly time when it comes to CO poisoning, so it’s important to take steps now to protect your family,” Browning said. “During the winter months, we are all more likely to use fireplaces, propane heaters and furnaces to help heat our homes.”

If not properly ventilated and maintained, t NASFM reminds you fuel-burning appliances can emit deadly levels of CO. Additionally, idling your vehicle or running a gas-powered generator in an attached garage can also lead to increased levels of CO, which allow fumes to seep into your home through doors or floorboards.  “The only safe way to detect CO is with a properly functioning and maintained CO alarm,” added Browning. 

Distinguished fire safety experts, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recommend installing a CO alarm on every level of the home and near sleeping areas. Other safety tips include:

  • Having furnaces and all gas-powered devices inspected and maintained annually
  • If the CO alarm sounds, leave the house immediately. Call 911 or the fire department after you are in a safe location with fresh air. Remain outside or by an open window until emergency personnel arrive. 
  • Test your CO alarm monthly and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If you do need to turn on your vehicle to warm it up, make sure to take it out of the garage to do so. Even if the garage door is open, don’t leave it sitting in the garage while the engine’s running.
  • Check the vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace outside of your home to make sure they’re clear of any snow, leaves or other debris.
  • Never use a generator indoors, and always ensure exhaust from the generator when used outside is not directed toward a door or window.

For more information about National CO Awareness Week, including tips and best practices on how to protect you and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, visit www.carbonmonoxidefacts.com.


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About NASFM

The principal membership of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) comprises the senior fire officials in the United States and their top deputies. The primary mission of NASFM is to protect human life, property and the environment from fire and related hazards. A secondary mission of NASFM is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of State Fire Marshals’ operations. In addition to its principal membership, NASFM has several categories of membership to allow companies, associations, academic and research institutions, and individuals who support NASFM’s mission to contribute in meaningful ways. Learn more about NASFM and its issues at http://www.firemarshals.org

News from NASFM

  • 2016 Life Safety Achievement Awards Recipients have been announced.  View the winners here.
  • Current NASFM Newsletter:
    September 2017
  • New Principal Members:

    Arizona: Jeff Whitney, State Fire Marshal

    Iowa: Dan Wood, State Fire Marshal

National Electrical Code (NEC) Reflects Changes to Solar System Safety


There are more than 1.3 million photovoltaic (PV) systems installed nationwide, with more installed every day. PV system safety and reliability is increasingly guided by robust codes and standards, including solar provisions in the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) National Electrical Code (NEC). Although solar is by no means new to the NEC, the 2017 version has updates and additions to support the growing solar economy.

Watch this interactive webinar with national expert Jim Rogers.  Learn about new articles in the NEC, such as large scale photovoltaic electric supply stations and energy storage systems, as well as updates to existing provisions like rapid shutdown, and grounding of PV systems. 





National Association of State Fire Marshals
PO Box 671
Cheyenne, WY 82003
Phone: 202.737.1226

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