For Release: 01/24/2017

Help protect the public against a silent killer: carbon monoxide

Peoples Gas offers Chicagoans carbon monoxide and appliance safety tips for their homes and businesses

CHICAGO – Natural gas is a safe, reliable and affordable energy choice used for many daily activities, such as heating food, drying laundry and providing heat. However, natural gas should always be handled properly and with care.

Peoples Gas safety experts today demonstrated how carbon monoxide is produced when natural gas appliances are not working properly. The officials held a carbon monoxide safety demonstration at Peoples Gas technical training center to help inform the public of the dangers of, and preventive measures to take against, carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Peoples Gas cares about the safety of our customers,” said Torrence Hinton, director – operations and maintenance, Peoples Gas. “That’s why we want to spread our message so our customers know how to protect themselves against carbon monoxide poisoning. If we can save at least one life by educating residents on proper carbon monoxide safety, then we have made a difference.”

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas that can be produced when heating systems or appliances are not working properly. More than 400 Americans die nationwide from carbon monoxide poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Illinois law requires every home and apartment to have CO detectors within 15 feet of sleeping areas.

Anyone can be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Peoples Gas urges customers to install at least one CO detector on each level of their home or building and get appliances checked yearly. The detector must be centrally located on each floor within the immediate vicinity of bedrooms. Small areas and secluded spaces should have separate alarms installed.

Although the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle, the condition is a life-threatening medical emergency. Get immediate care for anyone who may have carbon monoxide poisoning.

Be aware of the following symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Sudden flu-like illness
  • Dizziness, headaches, sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fluttering or throbbing heartbeat
  • Cherry-red lips, unusually pale complexion
  • Unconsciousness

Peoples Gas safety tips for carbon monoxide poisoning prevention:

  • Be alert for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms and replace them every five years.
  • Have all fuel-burning appliances, flues, vents and chimneys checked regularly.
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
  • Never use a gas oven to heat your home.

Know about carbon monoxide (CO) detectors:

  • Illinois law requires every home and apartment to have a CO alarm within 15 feet of sleeping areas.
  • For added safety, consider installing a CO alarm in each bedroom.
  • In two-story homes, install at least one CO alarm on each level.
  • If your home has a basement, install a CO alarm at the top of the basement stairs.
  • Change the batteries in CO alarms at the beginning of winter and then every six months.
  • Replace CO alarms older than five years.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Open the windows.
  • Get yourself and everyone else out of the house and into fresh air immediately.
  • Call 911 or emergency medical help.
  • Do not re-enter the premises until emergency responders have declared it safe.

Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), is a regulated natural gas delivery company that serves approximately 830,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. You can find more information about natural gas safety, energy efficiency and other energy-related topics at

For More Information, Contact:

  • Vanessa Hall


WEC Energy Group