Home safety includes many issues, including the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Here is some useful information about CO and tips to keep your home safe from what many call the “silent killer.”
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is impossible to detect without an alarm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CO poisoning sends approximately 15,000 people to hospital emergency rooms each year.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says alarms that detect CO should be installed on every floor of your home and near sleeping areas to help detect the presence of CO throughout the entire home. It is recommended that alarms are installed a minimum of 15 feet from potential sources of CO to reduce the chance of a false alarm, that alarm function is tested monthly and batteries on alarms are changed every six months. Also, ensure the alarm is free of dust and debris.
CO can enter a home through a leak in a furnace or chimney, backdraft from a furnace, gas-fueled water heaters and fireplaces, gas stoves and generators, and car exhaust from a garage attached to the home. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that furnaces, chimneys and flues are professionally cleaned and checked for leaks once per year.
CO poisoning symptoms include nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. In more severe incidents of CO poisoning, symptoms may include vomiting, confusion and unconsciousness.
If a carbon monoxide alarm sounds, it is suggested that you move outdoors or immediately go near an open window or door to access fresh air, then immediately call emergency personnel.
For families with young children, you may want to consider an alarm that offers voice and location technology, which will tell you where in your home the carbon monoxide has been detected. Children may be more apt to wake to a voice than the traditional beeping sound of an alarm.