About 50 Atlanta school children were sent to the hospital with carbon monoxide exposure Monday. The scary incident put a spotlight on how lethal carbon monoxide can be. Here are some tips forIAFF members on how to protect themselves on incident scenes.

Known as the silent killer because you can’t see it or smell it, carbon monoxide is the number-one cause of poisoning deaths in the world. However, only 25 states require carbon monoxide detectors in residential buildings.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is important considering nearly 50 percent of line-of-duty deaths among fire fighters are a result of heart disease and stroke.

Carbon monoxide exposure puts fire fighters at significant risk at the scene of a fire. Even mild carbon monoxide exposure can cause mental confusion – which can lead to poor decision making, putting both the exposed fire fighter and others at the fire scene at risk.

That’s why it’s so important to wear your SCBA during overhaul and to test for carbon monoxide in the air before removing your SCBA or allowing residents back into the structure.

You can read this factsheet and go to this web site for more information.

The more you know about carbon monoxide poisoning, the better you’ll be able to avoid the unnecessary risk it presents.