Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning
When the weather turns cold people will do whatever it takes to stay warm. Many often even try to save money by not raising their thermostat and wearing extra clothes or trying to warm the home in other ways, with space heaters, and fireplaces, for example.
1. Do not attempt to heat up your home by turning on your gas oven. Not even for a minute.
2. Don’t sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
3. Don’t let your car idle in the garage, even if the door remains open. It takes just a short amount of time for the fumes to build in the garage and in your home from turning on your car.
4. Don’t use a charcoal grill indoors, even in a fireplace.
5. Don’t use gas-powered equipment (chainsaw, trimmers, lawn mowers, etc.) in an enclosed space, or allow them to remain on in a garage when not in use.
If you do suspect that you or a family member may have been poisoned, get fresh air immediately and to a hospital right away. Symptoms can develop fast and it’s easy to lose consciousness before you even suspect anything. Other things to look for include nausea, severe headaches, and shortness of breath.
If your alarm does go off, get everyone out of the house. If anyone is complaining of symptoms, get them to a hospital immediately and let them know you believe they might have been exposed to carbon monoxide. Turn off all gas-powered appliances and ventilate the home with fresh air
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. Carbon monoxide detectors can be local or installed with your central station alarm for added protection.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas.
Where is Carbon Monoxide Found?
Carbon monoxide is present in low levels in the air. In the home, it is formed from incomplete combustion from any flame-fueled device, including ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, vehicles, and water heaters. Furnaces and water heaters may be sources of carbon monoxide, but if they are vented properly the carbon monoxide will escape to the outside. Open flame appliances such as ovens and ranges, are the most common source of carbon monoxide. Motor vehicles cause most carbon monoxide poisonings.
How Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?
Carbon monoxide detectors trigger an alarm based on an accumulation of carbon monoxide over time. Detectors may be based on a chemical reaction causing a color change, an electrochemical reaction that produces current to trigger an alarm, or a semiconductor sensor that changes its electrical resistance in the presence of CO. Most carbon monoxide detectors require a continuous power supply, so if the power cuts off then the alarm becomes ineffective. Models are available that offer back-up battery power.
Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?
When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it passes from the lungs into the hemoglobin molecules of red blood cells. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin at the same site as and preferentially to oxygen, forming carboxyhemoglobin. Carboxyhemoglobin interferes with the oxygen transport and gas exchange abilities of red blood cells. The result is that the body becomes oxygen-starved, which can result in tissue damage and death. Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning cause symptoms similar to those of the flu or a cold, including shortness of breath on mild exertion, mild headaches, and nausea. Higher levels of poisoning lead to dizziness, mental confusion, severe headaches, nausea, and fainting on mild exertion. Ultimately, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in unconsciousness, permanent brain damage, and death. Carbon monoxide detectors are set to sound an alarm before the exposure to carbon monoxide would present a hazard to a healthy adult. Babies, children, pregnant women, people with circulatory or respiratory ailments, and the elderly are more sensitive to carbon monoxide than healthy adults.