Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Statistics indicate that nearly 250,000 homes in the United Kingdom are at constant risk of high carbon monoxide (CO) levels. The Department of Health says that carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for 50 deaths every year and more than 4,000 medical visits.

CO, dubbed as “the silent killer” is one of the most dangerous pollutants on the planet. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless, making it even harder to detect. You’re likely to be a victim of CO poisoning if you don’t ventilate and service your fireplaces, stoves, furnaces or gas ranges. What follows is a rundown of tidbits to help you stay safe at home or workplace.

Know the Risks of Carbon Monoxide

This is where it all starts. Anything that burns fuel, be it your generator, car or gas appliance produces carbon monoxide as a by-product. So, make sure that you vent and maintain such items to help disperse and channel the gas out of your home.

On top of that, know the symptoms of a possible carbon monoxide poisoning. At lower levels, you may experience dizziness, headaches, vomiting, nausea, confusion, weakness and chest pain. Higher concentration can lead to unconsciousness and even death.

Install a Gas Detector

Installing a gas detector could very well be your best bet to know if there’s carbon monoxide in your space. Think of this as a way of improving safety and by extension minimizing potential damages.

Even then, be sure to choose a high-quality detector. At the very least, you want to know that you’re buying a detector with proven ability to keep you safe. Also, ensure that the unit you purchase can pick up the presence of other gases including carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium, and nitrogen dioxide. In other words, you’re better off with a gas detector designed to look after the air you breathe.

Don’t forget to maintain your detector regularly. Change the batteries at the manufacturer’s recommended frequency. Of course, it is a good idea to have an extra supply of batteries to make sure there’s an uninterrupted operation, even when the power goes out.

Hire an Expert to Install the Detectors

See, mounting a gas detector in your premises is one thing but doing so in the right manner is entirely different. Hire an expert to install the unit. Although they provide detectors and thermostats you can also purchase these things online, just make sure you read the reviews first, Thermostat Center is a good site for that, and you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of money as those experts often overcharge for the equipment. Ask them to set up the appropriate venting for your fuel-burning devices as well. Invite a qualified professional to inspect all your fireplaces once every year to make sure that they continue to function correctly without putting you at the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Don’t Run Your Engines in a Closed Area

Adequate ventilation is essential to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. So, avoid starting your car, running a generator, or firing up a grill in a closed area such your garage or basement. Sure, you can leave the garage open, but you should keep in mind that CO can quickly build up to toxic levels, putting you (and everyone around you) at risk.

Know What to In Case of a Poisoning

Even with a carbon dioxide detector installed in your home, you have to know the actions to take. Here’s what you should do;

  • Leave immediately and take others with you
  • Open the window and doors to help disperse the gas
  • Start CPR to any affected individuals
  • Call for help as soon as possible

Rush victims of acute poisoning to the hospital. Make sure that the person gets a 100% oxygen treatment.

The Bottom Line

You can’t rule out the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home or place of work. The good news, however, is that you can counter the problem if you know what to do. Educate everyone around you about the dangers of CO poisoning and how to deal with it. Most importantly, teach them how to prevent a dangerous situation from happening in the first place.

Get rid of anything obstructing your stove, furnace, dryer or stove during and after a storm. Make sure that snow doesn’t block essential critical vents for dangerous gases. You don’t have to be part of the statistics – safeguard your home against this silent killer. Remember, installing a gas detector is your first line of defense.