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Carbon Monoxide

 

Family Safety: Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer

The winter season is upon us and as we all begin to turn on the heaters in our homes, we should all be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and what you can to do keep your family safe. We go into a lot of homes as a part of our installation service and we are surprised by how many families lack a simple safety feature like a carbon monoxide detector. This is an essential tool in keeping your family safe.

Installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home is the law in many states and the single most important thing you can do to protect your family at home from carbon monoxide poisoning. See the carbon monoxide fact sheet at the Center For Disease Control and Prevention website for more on what you can do, symptoms, and how it attacks your body. Be sure to check out their main Carbon Monoxide Poisoning site for a wealth of detailed information regarding the subject.

 

About Carbon Monoxide

What is it?

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.

Where is it found?

Carbon monoxide is found in many places all around us. Vehicle exhaust, small gasoline engines like those found in portable generators, gas stoves, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges and heating systems, just to name a few. Carbon monoxide is found in combustion flames and is frequently overlooked as a danger.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. In severe cases,the person may lose consciousness or die.
  • CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu.
  • Often, more than one person in the household will suffer symptoms at the same time.
carbon_monoxide_poisoning_symptoms

Carbon Monoxide Symptoms

 

 

To decrease risk of CO poisoning the following tips are recommended:

  • Install a CO alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Place CO alarms at least 15 feet away from every fuel-burning appliance to reduce the number of nuisance alarms.
  • Test alarms every month and replace them every five years.
  • Make sure alarms can be heard when you test them and practice an escape plan with your entire family.
  • Have all gas, oil or coal burning appliances inspected by a technician every year to ensure they are working correctly and are properly ventilated.
  • Never use a stove for heating.
  • Do not use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.
  • Never leave a car, SUV, or motorcycle engine running inside a garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • CO can accumulate anywhere in or around your boat, so install a CO alarm on your motorboat.
  • When purchasing gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of
    a national testing agency, such as the American Gas Association or
    Underwriters’ Laboratories.

If your CO alarm goes off, follow these steps:

  • Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible into fresh air. Then call for help from a neighbor’s home or a cell phone outside of your home.
  • If someone is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms, call 911 for medical attention.
  • If no one is experiencing symptoms, call the fire department. They will let you know when it is safe to re-enter your home.

Carbon Monoxide sensors can be purchased at most home improvement stores.  If you need assistance purchasing or installing a sensor in your home, please contact your local Baby Safe Homes safety consultant.  They will be happy to assist you.

Where to purchase a CO sensor:

Most home improvement stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Wallmart carry CO sensors.  We recommend staying with name brands with a battery backup so it will work if the power goes out.