WEST MONROE, La (KTVE/KARD)– Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas that can poison someone when breathed in. It is highly toxic and can cause death. The Ouachita Parish Fire Department spoke with us about carbon monoxide safety.

Dusty Harris, Chief of Fire Prevention for Ouachita Parish Fire Department, gave us insight on carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning will occur whenever you breathe in this gas and it attaches itself to your red blood cells. “It hinders oxygen from attaching to the red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout your body.”

There are ways to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning, and Harris goes over that. “I also encourage people to have carbon monoxide alarms inside their homes. They’re different from smoke alarms because they detect carbon monoxide. With smoke, there’s a high probability that there’s carbon monoxide with the smoke as well, so it’s good to have both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Whenever you’re picking out a carbon monoxide alarm, make sure that it’s been tested. They work a lot like smoke detectors. There’s a test button on there, and they have batteries; they work off the batteries, and you need to test those once a month.”

Harris tells us the warning signs that you have come into contact with carbon monoxide. “Carbon monoxide will cause you to become drowsy. You’ll feel headaches; you’ll see flushed skin. If you or someone you’re with notice this, you need to exit the building, get some fresh air, and call 911.”

Carbon monoxide detectors can be found at most retail stores and can be easily installed to protect your home or business.