Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the home, especially during the winter months. Having carbon monoxide detectors in good working order and properly placed, primarily in sleeping areas, can make the difference between survival and tragedy. Here are some facts about carbon monoxide and how it can secretly cause neurological damage or even death, when allowed to “sneak up” on its victims.
Carbon Monoxide: An Invisible Killer
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that, once allowed to circulate in breathing spaces, cuts off the blood supply to the brain and heart.
Carbon monoxide is carbon commonly contained in fuels (gas, oil, wood)
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when:
carbon is not burned off adequately, and becomes discharged into the air
gas and oil heaters are not properly vented, along with an inadequately vented living area.
Children and infants are far more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning, since they have a much higher metabolic rate than adults. As a result, the carbon is absorbed by their bodies much faster
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness
symptoms that often mimic the flu
How to protect yourself and your loved ones:
install an UL-approved carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. These alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96 or CSA 6.19.01).
Test all CO alarms and replace dead batteries periodically.
if possible, install a separate detector in each and every sleeping area of the home.
install a detector nearby (not less than five feet away from) fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces or water heaters.
be certain that all furnaces, water heaters, stoves, ovens, gas-fired dryers and other gas appliances are properly vented.
make sure all chimneys and flue pipes are maintained in good, clean condition and that they receive regular inspections.
never use portable stoves or heaters indoors.
do not leave automobiles, lawn mowers, snow blowers or other gas-powered equipment or appliances running in attached garages, even if the doors are open.
never use an oven to heat your home, even in an emergency.
should the alarm go off, evacuate the house immediately, call your local fire department or the local utility company.
if any member of the family displays symptoms of CO poisoning, seek medical attention immediately.