Two Bossier City residents were hospitalized after being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide inside their home. Fire and EMS personnel were called to the 1200 block of Waller Avenue at around 7:30 this morning in reference to the smell of natural gas inside a home there.

When crews arrived they found some of the seven occupants exhibiting varying degrees of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Firefighters also detected high levels of carbon monoxide inside the house that were suspected of coming from the home’s central heating unit, which operates on natural gas.

Two of the occupants, both adult males, were transported to Willis-Knighton South in Shreveport. Both were responsive and it's believed their conditions are not life-threatening.

Exposure to carbon monoxide, or CO, can be fatal. It’s often called "the silent killer," since you cannot see, taste or smell it. It can be created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane or wood, do not burn properly.

How to avoid carbon monoxide leaks in your home

The Bossier City Fire Department recommends residents take steps to making sure their home heating systems and appliances are working correctly to prevent situations like the one this morning from happening.

The United States Fire Administrations offers these prevention tips:

· Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.

· CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards..

· Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.

· Make sure dampers are open for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.

· Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.

· When purchasing new heating and cooking equipment, select products tested and labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.

· Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.