In Case of Emergency

If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, get everyone out of the house as soon as possible and call your local fire department from either your cell phone or a neighbors house.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States.


What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be given off during the burning of fuel.


The Source

Sources of this deadly gas in the home include furnaces, gas stoves and ovens, kerosene heaters, generators, vehicles and any other items that burn fuel. When these items malfunction or are used inappropriately, such as without adequate ventilation, they become dangerous.

Malfunctioning home furnaces cause up to 18.5% of all accidental poisonings by carbon monoxide in the United States.


Who is at Risk?

Anyone is susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning, although studies have shown that children are more susceptible to low levels of exposure.



If you have an unexplained headache, fatigue, dizziness or nausea, or if your carbon monoxide detector is going off, immediately evacuate your home and contact the fire department. Low-level carbon monoxide poisoning is often confused with cold and flu symptoms.


Health Impacts

Carbon monoxide starves the body of oxygen and can cause death in people of any age. For children, small doses of carbon monoxide over extended periods can also cause long-lasting health and developmental problems.



The best protection is to have fuel burning appliances inspected annually and to install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home.

The Healthy Homes Coalition works with families with children to connect them with resources that can help provide a carbon monoxide detector for their home free of charge.  Resources to provide these free CO detectors are often limited.  Eligible families must have a resident child 14 years of age or younger and must live in the cities of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, or Kentwood Michigan. To see about getting a free detector for your home, contact the Healthy Homes Coalition.


Did You Know...

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning death in the U.S.


Carbon Monoxide Kills: More Than Half of Carbon Monoxide Poisonings Occur During the Winter Months(828 KB)

February 12, 2015 - Media alert on carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter months.

MEDIA ALERT: Exercise Caution When Using Generators During Power Outage(820 KB)

November 18, 2013 media alert regarding use of generators and risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2013 Carbon Monoxide Report for the State of Michigan(617 KB)

2013 data on carbon monoxide deaths, hospitalizations, and poisonings for the state of Michigan provided by the Michigan Deaprtment of Health and Human Services (published March 2015).

Invisible Killer(152 KB)

Guide to Carbon Monoxide.

Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet(1.5 MB)

Fact sheet jointly authored by the Healthy Homes Coalition and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Coalition (formerly the Safe Kids Coaltiion).

Lifting Parent Voices, The COFI Way

Every second Monday of the month at 5pm, the conference room at the Healthy Homes Coalition fills up with parents. They file in, greet each other warmly and find their usual seats.

Over a quick dinner, weekly stories are swapped and pictures are shared as parents catch up. Parents for Healthy Homes meetings are part support group, part advocacy work, part leadership training class, and all parent connection.

The leadership training component is a result of our relationship with Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), a nonprofit organization based out of Chicago which connects parents to one another, helping turn their voices in actionable change.  COFI was created in 1995, with former community organizer Barack Obama as a founding member.


Why Parent Voices Matter More

Two stories featuring parents who are fighting to end childhood lead poisoned were told in local news this past week.

These two stories represent the voices of parents whose children are directly affected by the threat of lead poisoning in the community. They are just two of thousands more in the city.

Asthma: The Overlooked Housing Hazard

While efforts to fix lead paint hazards in Grand Rapids are currently in process and in the news, it’s important to remember that asthma is another major health concern for children in the city.

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