This time of years with storms and power failures, we often hear about families and people who suffer carbon monoxide poisoning. There are certain things to do to keep your family safe.
Each year, more than 500 people are killed by carbon monoxide gas poisoning. Many thousands more are poisoned, but do not die. Survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning may suffer lasting health problems, such as neurological damage or blindness.
All people and animals are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Pregnant women, babies, people with chronic heart disease and respiratory problems are particularly at risk.
Carbon Monoxide or CO is a highly toxic gas. It is the product of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, gasoline, wood and coal. The major sources of CO in homes and apartments are fossil fuel burning boilers, furnaces, water heaters, fire places and parking garages.
CO is very dangerous because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and not irritating. CO poisoning can be fatal. The warning signs of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea. There is no way for your senses to detect it other than the symptoms you may or may not recognize in time.
People often mistake the initial symptoms of CO poisoning as flu or a cold. The symptoms are flu like and may include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and vomiting. They go to bed. Without a CO detector warning alarm, the CO concentration in the air may slowly increase while they sleep. Then it is too late to revive them when they are found.
CO poisoning occurs because red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of CO in the air, the body may replace oxygen in blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into the body, which can damage tissues and result in death.
How to protect yourself, and your family from CO gas poisoning in your home.
1. Have your heating system, water heater fireplace and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliance inspected by a qualified technician each year.
2. Make sure all appliances are properly vented. Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t properly vented.
3. Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. .Debris can build up blocking the chimney. This can cause a buildup of CO gas in your home or cabin.
4. Never use a gas range for heating.
5. Never burn charcoal indoors. Never use a charcoal grill and cook inside .Never use a portable camp stove indoors .This means in the home, or while camping in a RV or tent.
6. Never use a generator inside your home, basement, garage, or near a window, door, or vent. Power outages are dangerous times.
How to avoid CO poisoning from your vehicle.
1. Have a mechanic check the exhaust system. A small leak can lead to a build up of CO in the car.
2. In winter weather, make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow or ice. Three young women were killed recently when they fell asleep in a car during a snow storm and CO was released into the car from a blocked exhaust pipe…
3. Never run a car in the garage with the door shut. Never run a car in a garage that is attached to the house. Open the outside door completely before starting the car and backing out.
4. Install CO detectors by all sleeping areas in the home. They are inexpensive and some are plug in, and can be taken on camping vacations where a detector might not be available.
5. Combination smoke and CO detectors are also available. Make sure they are installed properly and check the batteries every few months.
NYC Carbon Monoxide Law Compliance
CDC ….Centers for disease control and prevention
Detroit Free Press…..