DENVER (KDVR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires each year.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas.

As Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, this is the season for severe storms and the possibility of carbon monoxide leak is there.

Carbon monoxide deaths are 100% preventable by using a simple carbon monoxide detector in your house.

The CDC says a leak could come from a gas or charcoal grill, water heater, gas stove, camping stove, or fireplace in your home.

Carbon monoxide alarms range anywhere between $10 and $35. The CDC recommends a battery-operated one in the event the power goes out.

”So carbon monoxide is known as the invisible killer because you cannot see it, you cannot smell it, and it can kill your family within minutes. So you want to make sure one of the most important things you can do is to have working carbon monoxide alarms in your home and you want to have more than one you need one on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area,” said Nicolette Nye with the Consumer Product Safety Commission

You should check or replace the detector’s battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and replace the whole detector every five years.

Portable Generators

 A study from the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that 40% of all carbon monoxide deaths happen due to portable generators.  

Additionally, it found that the top three reasons for using a generator among the reported fatal incidents were weather-related power outages, power shut-offs, and attempts to provide power to temporary locations, such as cabins, campers and trailers.

Keep this in mind as you plan your summer vacations if you’re renting a place that gets its power from a generator.

“One portable generator can produce as much carbon monoxide as hundreds or even 1000 cars. So they’re very dangerous. Yes, you don’t want to use anything that can produce carbon monoxide in the house. Make sure to use them outside,” said Nye.

Nye said bringing that generator into your home is never a good idea.

Experts say you want to make sure that you use portable generators outside only. Be sure the generator is at least 20 feet away from your home with the exhaust pointing away from your home and away from all doors and windows, even if you keep a basement or garage door open, the ventilation is not enough.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure

The CDC said you should look out for these symptoms:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • chest pain
  • confusion

If you experience any of these symptoms, the CDC said you should go outside right away and get some fresh air and then call 911 to come and check for the leak.