(KCAU)— Each year, more than 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning while almost 50,000 individuals are taken to the emergency room due to the gas.

“When you have a heating element that uses fuel, of some type, and doesn’t burn completely. When it does not burn completely, it creates carbon monoxide,” said Chief Terry Johnson of the South Sioux Fire Department.

“It displaces the oxygen that we have in our blood stream, so it won’t allow us to carry any oxygen, so it actually displaces that and by doing that, then we become hypoxic which can cause effects on our brain, it can cause effects on our heart, it can actually put us into cardiac arrest,” said Kevin Handke, Emergency Preparedness EMS Manager for UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly, invisible and odorless gas. While it can only be detected by a carbon monoxide detector, those who don’t have one won’t know if they have carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Feeling the effects of lightheadedness, headaches, upset stomachs, dizziness; those are some of the early signs of that would be associated,” said Handke.

Homeowners inhaling the gas slowly start to feel sleepy eventually leading to falling asleep and never waking up. If you are experiencing these symptoms, go outside or open windows. If you feel better after those steps, it might be carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Now carbon monoxide is a heavy gas, so it’s gonna stay closer to the floor and kind of float. You don’t want to put your monoxide detector higher than five feet,” said Chief Johnson.

“Most of the times when we run into carbon monoxide, if it’s actually the furnace that’s creating the carbon monoxide. The majority of its lack of maintenance,” said Curt Brodsky, service manager at Kalins Indoor Comfort.

The Mayo Clinic said you should ask your utility company about having yearly checkups for all the gas appliances in the home including the furnace.