At Sentry Security, we’re committed to making sure you and your loved ones are safe and secure. To help keep your household safe, we’re going over Carbon Monoxide 101 that includes tips, warning signs, and protect against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
What is Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Often referred to as “the silent killer”, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to tissue and brain damage, or even death. When exposed to a certain amount the CO gas blocks the absorption of oxygen into the bloodstream. It’s especially dangerous to unborn babies, children, and the elderly.
Preventing the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent and detect the dangerous gas. Here are some guidelines to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide.
Install carbon monoxide detectors. These affordable life-savers can be purchased individually or added to an existing home security system. They will loudly alert you of potentially dangerous levels of CO in your home. Place them in hallways near your family’s bedrooms and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing. Remember to check and change the batteries at least twice a year.
Use gas appliances as recommended. First, never use your gas stove to heat your home and someone should always be awake to monitor the use fuel-burning space heaters, keeping a window or door open to provide fresh air. Never run a generator in a closed area, like a basement or garage. Keeping all gas appliances in working condition is also important; call your utility company about scheduling annual checks.
Don’t run your car unless the garage door is open. Many people forget to open their garage door when they go out to start their car and the exhaust begins to fill the space with CO. Attached garage owners should always open the garage door and then close the door to the inside of their homes.
Call the Chimney Sweep. If you have a fireplace, make sure to get the chimney and flue cleaned every year.
Knowing the Symptoms
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms begin faint and aren’t noticed until damage has already begun. The impact of this damage is life-threatening and can be permanent.
The symptoms begin similar to the flu:
Shortness of breath
Dizziness or nausea
If one does not get to fresh air, they will escalate to:
Loss of coordination
Being able to identify these symptoms can help save you or a loved one from suffering the long-term or fatal effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
When Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off
The signs and symptoms are subtle so you probably won’t notice any threat until your CO detector alarm sounds. Creating an emergency plan for your family is a great way to insure everyone knows what to do and where to meet.
When it goes off:
1. Instantly go somewhere with fresh air (outdoors or an open window).
2. Check that all of those who were inside the home are accounted for.
3. Call 9-1-1 or your local fire department from this safe location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive.
4. Anyone showing symptoms of CO poisoning should receive care immediately.
5. Don’t go back inside your home until the source of the CO is found and fixed.
Carbon monoxide detectors are also available for boats and motorhomes.
For more information on carbon monoxide, its dangers, and prevention, the Mayo Clinic is a good resource.