Each year in America, carbon monoxide poisoning claims hundreds of lives and sends another 10,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
What is carbon monoxide?
CO is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces and motor vehicles.
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning.
What You Can Do To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
Install at least one UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed Carbon Monoxide Detector with an audible warning signal near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms. Carbon Monoxide Detectors measure levels of CO over time and are designed to sound an alarm before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms. It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean that CO is not present.
Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year.
Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill in your home or garage.
Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of Carbon Monoxide.
From "Exposing an Invisible Killer A Factsheet on the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide" by The United States Fire Administration.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in your home!