Michael Bushnell & EllieAna Hale

As we head into the winter season, the Kansas City Fire Department would like to remind everyone about the crucial role that generators play in keeping our homes and businesses running during power outages. Due to the snow and high winds, there has been an increase in down power lines, emergency electrical calls are very common. The KCFD would like to remind everyone about the importance of generator safety. Never operate a generator indoors. Always position it outside, away from doors and windows, and downwind. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, and a standard generator can produce enough of it to be deadly in just a few minutes. Stay safe KC!

Common sources of carbon monoxide leaks include the following: 

  • Furnaces
  • Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Clothes dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Space heaters
  • Idling cars in garages
  • generators

Residents can reserve a CO detector by emailing Healthy.homes@kcmo.org or calling 816-513-6464. 

Confirmation of a reservation is necessary before picking up the detector at the Health Department, located at 2400 Troost Ave. Suite 3600.

The campaign also emphasizes recognizing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can mimic flu-like symptoms. Fatigue, confusion, headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and vomiting are signs that should not be ignored. 

“If all of a sudden two or three people in the home all have a headache at the same time,” Hopkins said. “Or you know one’s got a headache, one feels nauseous and one feels a little dizzy. All at the same time. There’s a good chance there’s some sort of carbon monoxide leak.”

In the event that a CO alarm goes off, residents are advised to immediately evacuate the building to fresh air and safety and to shut the door and immediately call 9-1-1. Residents should not re-enter the building until it has been cleared by first responders.

Even if the alarm stops and all appliances are turned off with windows and doors opened, there could still be a lingering threat. The fire department emphasizes that residents should pay attention to the alarm and evaluate whether or not they are in danger.

Alarm activation can occur due to reasons other than an emergency, such as a low battery or the detector reaching its end-of-life. Residents are reminded to change the battery regularly and replace the detector when necessary.

The KCFD outreach campaign seeks to educate residents with the knowledge and tools needed to protect themselves and their communities from the silent threat of carbon monoxide. Through this, there is determination to break the tragic trend and ensure the safety of every Kansas City resident.