The Office of the State Fire Marshal encourages residents to have their furnaces checked and to make sure carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detectors are working.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes.

Local fire departments responded to an average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-16, accounting for 15% of all reported home fires during that time. Annually, these fires lead to the loss of 490 civilians’ lives, 1,400 civilian injuries and account for around $1 billion in direct property damage.

“Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, which means it’s important that you install and maintain CO alarms in your home,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Carbon monoxide fatalities rise during the winter months, and these alarms, when working, will give you a warning and let you know to leave your home when levels are too high. Never use a gas generator, grill, oven or range to heat the inside of your home.”

In 2018, according to National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), Illinois fire departments responded to 8,965 incidents related to carbon monoxide. Symptoms of CO poisoning are very similar to the flu and include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Other signs of possible CO presence include condensation on walls and windows, house pets becoming sluggish and chronic odors from malfunctioning appliances.

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