Carbon monoxide is one of those terms we hear on the news, often as the result of a tragic loss of life, yet we often dismiss potential problem as something that happens to other people. On average 400 people a year die from accidental carbon monoxide exposure, with thousands more sickened and hospitalized. Most incidents occur during the winter months, however, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning can happen to anyone at any time, so it is important to implement a plan to both prevent and detect exposure.
Prevention is the best course of action. The first step toward this is to have your gas, oil, and coal burning appliances and duct work inspected yearly by experts.
Combustion engines such as electric generators also create carbon monoxide emissions, so in the case of a power outage, be extra cautious and only use generators outside of your home, making certain there is at least 20 feet distance from all doors windows and vents. Never use your gas stove or oven as a heating source.
Other common causes of accidental carbon emission are blocked chimneys, charcoal burnt indoors, and the use of portable heaters. (Both propane and flameless chemical types can create CO omissions)
Carbon monoxide detectors are readily available and affordable, and every home, cabin, or camper space should have at least one of these devices. Keep in mind that batteries should be changed often and remember that hard-wired models will not work during a power outage, so if you have a backup generator for such situations, it is also vital you acquire a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.
CO poisoning is known as “the silent killer,” so do not rely on the onset of symptoms to realize there is a problem. If you do experience accidental exposure you may feel a headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. Carbon monoxide exposure is often described as flu-like, but inhaling too much will make you pass out. People who are asleep or otherwise impaired can die from CO poisoning before they realize any symptoms.
If you have questions on carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, contact our team today.