Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Facts: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Hello all!

Today I want to talk about carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s that time of year again, when temperatures fall and people everywhere want to start using their fireplaces, but remember to take the proper measures in preventing exposure to this poisonous gas. One of the reasons why carbon monoxide is the silent killer is because it’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It’s produced through the incomplete burning of various forms of fuel (coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas.)

  • At lower levels of exposure, carbon monoxide causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue.
  • At moderate levels of exposure, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result.
  • At higher concentrations, exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.
  • The effects of exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
Watch this informative video that explains how to properly check your chimney to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning!

Here are some tips for properly installing your carbon monoxide detector:

  • Because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and may be found with warm, raising air, detectors should be placed on a wall about 5 ft. above the floor. 
  • Do not place the detector right next to or over a fireplace or a flame-producing appliance.
  • Keep detectors out of the way of pets and children.
  • Each floor needs a separate detector.
  • Place near a sleeping area so its loud enough to wake you up.
  • Read manufactures instructions for additional information on placement and maintenance of the CO alarm.

Also, check out this website for more safety and preparedness tips!

Samantha Minks
Preparedness Coordinator
AmeriCorps NPRC 2013-2014
American Red Cross - Kern Chapter

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