The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is often referred to as "the silent killer." This odorless, colourless and tasteless gas, is nearly impossible to detect and also extremely lethal. Homeowners must take extra safety precautions to control the dangers of carbon monoxide in their homes.
When carbon monoxide is absorbed through inhalation it immediately begins depleting your body’s cells of oxygen. Carbon monoxide is absorbed faster than oxygen by red blood cells. As it replaces the oxygen in your blood it also starves cells and vital organs of their required oxygen. Affects of carbon monoxide poisoning are dependent on the amount of exposure you have had. While some affects are only short term, many can be long term as well as fatal. In some cases death occurs in minutes.
Occurrence and Exposure
Carbon monoxide occurs when organic compounds burn, such as motor vehicle exhaust, fires, engine fumes and non-electrical heaters. It is found in fumes of automobiles, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges and heating systems. Danger can occur when there a problem with ventilation creating a buildup in enclosed or semi-enclosed space. Symptoms of exposure can be very diverse, from headaches to chest pain, weakness to confusion and seizures. Be aware of all the symptoms.
Your best defense is to have all heating systems, water heaters and gas, coal or oil burning appliances serviced yearly by qualified technicians. Install battery operated carbon monoxide detectors at knee level and check them on a bi-yearly basis. A good idea as a reminder is to ensure they are in good working order every fall and spring when you change your clocks.
Keeping chimneys free of bird’s nests, leaves and debris will ensure proper ventilation and will prevent any type of carbon monoxide buildup.
Always use items that create carbon monoxide with care. Never use these items indoors, in garages or near windows. All areas must be well ventilated and more than 20 feet away from your home. This includes never running a vehicle in a garage.
Most importantly, take these precautions seriously. Consider all alarms to be accurate and evacuate immediately. Call 911 and wait for the fire department to access your situation.
With the clocks going ahead last week you should have changed your Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide batteries. I have seen to many times what happens when this simple chore is neglected.
Any Questions always feel free to call me.