Carbon Monoxide Poisoning | Life-Saving Tips for Your Safety
Symptoms of CO Poisoning
Instantly overwhelming, identifiable symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, and confusion. Carbon Monoxide symptoms are comparable to “flu-like” symptoms, sadly with poisoning leading to loss of consciousness, brain damage, or death. Sleeping, intoxicated, or those with impaired functioning are at higher risk of experiencing CO poisoning.
Infants and young children, elderly, people with chronic illnesses or breathing issues are most susceptible to sickness from CO poisoning. According to statistics obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized."
Protect Your Home Against CO Poisoning
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
- If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
- When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
- Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
- Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
- Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
- When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.
Our vehicles are frequently-used producers of Carbon Monoxide, remember to routinely have annual vehicle servicing, inspecting the exhaust system of cars or trucks. Undiscovered leaks in the exhaust system can result in a build up of CO inside vehicles.
Keep numbers for the fire department, gas company and emergency contacts clearly displayed and stored in phones. In the event of a suspected Carbon Monoxide poisoning, open all windows and doors immediately. Everyone should leave the premises to get fresh air. Call 911, the local fire department and the gas company.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional safety information and updates.