Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness

Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness

This is the time of year when the risk for carbon monoxide(CO) poisoning increases as people use fireplaces, furnaces, heaters, and other appliances that produce this toxic gas.

According to the National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association (NCOAA), there are 1,200 deaths annually due to poisoning by carbon monoxide, 50,000 people have to go to the ER for exposure and poisoning, and it is the number cause of injury in the United States—ahead of car crashes. Children are at the greatest risk, Safe Kids Worldwide states.

“Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states. “Large amounts of CO can overcome you in minutes without warning—causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.”

Symptoms of CO poisoning can include tightness in the chest, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea and will vary from person to person.

Stay Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Here is what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe from this colorless, odorless danger:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. Don’t forget about the garage if it’s attached to the house.
  • If you already have a detector installed, check the expiration date. These typically last for about five to seven years, depending on the manufacturer.
  • When deciding where to put these detectors, either inside or directly outside of bedrooms is best.
  • Select hardwired detectors because they rely only on the battery which means they will continue to be alert for an issue during any power outages.

Remember to put an alert on your phone, computer, or someplace you can’t miss it to check that these devices are still operable each year. Make it New Year’s tradition, for example.

When it comes to installation, there is just one option for individual do-it-yourself types and that is the battery-only models of carbon monoxide detectors. You can also call a licensed electrician at Mister Sparky for a full-house installation, including other types of detectors like smoke alarms.

Learn more about these services here and call today to schedule an appointment.

For more information about carbon monoxide detectors work, read this article.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Illness and death from carbon monoxide poisoning is completely preventable. Stay sharp with these tips:

  1. When warming up a car, do it outside of the garage and never leave the engine running when the car is inside of the garage.
  2. Generators and grills should be outside of the home and at a distance from windows and doors.
  3. Never use your oven or stovetop as a heat source for your home.
  4. Regularly check vents on things like the furnace, dryer, and fireplace from the outside of the home to ensure they are not blocked with snow or other debris.

If there is exposure and the alarm sounds, leave the home immediately and call 911.