Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Silent Safety Tip!

   Its cold out side so I think it is a good time to bring up a silent safety tip that so many of us don't even think about. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless and otherwise undetectable by human senses that you may not know you are being exposed to. Exposure to this gas can lead to sudden illness and death.  I want to go over some of the warning signs then some of the ways we can try to prevent it from happening.
Carbon Monoxide Symptoms
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Flu-Like Symptoms, Fatigue, Without the Fever
  • Shortness of Breath, Exertion
  • Visual Changes
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Memory and Walking Problems
   Carbon Monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. The Center of Disease Control estimates that it is responsible for an average of 15,000 Hospital visits and 500 deaths a year. Carbon Monoxide is produced by many common household items such as Heaters, Stoves, Water Heaters and Fireplaces etc.

   When you breath Carbon Monoxide, the poison replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream and causes your heart, brain and body to become starved for oxygen. Symptoms vary person to person. People that are at high risk are the Elderly, persons with lung disease, smokers and young children (note: this may not be a complete list). Carbon Monoxide can harm a fetus :(.

   The good news is we can limit the chances of being exposed to Carbon Monoxide by taking some very easy safety precautions. If we follow the ones listed below it will limit the chances dramatically and could save your life one day. Realistically 500 lives a year is not much considering how many millions of people live in the United States but when this is something that can virtually be close to 0 we should error on the side of caution especially when this could be our family that is at risk.

Safety Tips To Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Generators - Never use them indoors. Even if you have your windows and doors open, it is just to dangerous. Just keep them outside.
  • Heating System, Including Chimney and Vents - Have these inspected annually by a trained service technician.
  • Gas Range/Oven - Never use these as a source of heat. Remember Carbon Monoxide is Odorless and Colorless so even if it is supervised you will not know that it is being emitted until you experience the symptoms and it isn't worth the risk.
  • Grills - I think this one is common sense but never bring it into the house as a source of heat. Also never bbq in your garage as it could emit the gases into the home.
  • Fireplace - Always make sure that you open the Damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until all of the ashes are cool.
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor - Install Carbon Monoxide Sensor's in the home.
  • Symptoms - Know the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide as early detection could save your life.
(***This is not a complete list, this is just to get you started***)
    If you start experiencing any of the symptoms that I listed above you should immediately leave the home to get fresh air and call your local fire department to report your symptoms, if you don't have a cell phone use a neighbors home but do not go back into your home to use your phone. You could lose consciousness or die if you don't leave your home. It is also important to call your Dr immediately for proper diagnosis. Let your Dr know that you believe you were exposed to Carbon Monoxide and believe you could be suffering from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Prompt medical attention is very important with dealing with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. If your Dr confirms Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, make sure a qualified service technician inspects all appliances before reusing them.
   Carbon Monoxide alarms are a great investment to detect Carbon Monoxide as they are designed to alarm you before potentially life-threatening levels of Carbon Monoxide levels are reached. You should always follow the Manufacturers instructions. Using a Test button test whether the circuit in the device is working properly, not the accuracy of the device. All alarms have a recommended age at which the battery and the device should be replaced. 

   It is recommended that Carbon Monoxide Alarms be placed in the hallways just outside of every sleeping area of the home. I will list a few of the Carbon Monoxide Alarms that I have found for your below. Keep in mind these are just a couple of items that I looked into. There are plenty more items out there that will do the same thing, some could be better then these.

Left: This device is great for everyone. It runs off of 3 AA battery's which are included. This alarm can be mounted to a wall or placed on a nightstand or end table.

Middle: This device is also great for everyone. It runs off of 3 AA battery's which are included. This alarm is to be mounted to a wall or ceiling. This alarm is is a Combo alarm meaning it detects Carbon Monoxide and Smoke. Would be a great alarm to place in the hall just outside of every sleeping area.

Right: This device is great for those with older children or grandparents houses where children aren't at all the time to unplug the unit etc. This alarm runs off of 1 nine-volt battery which is included and is also plugged into a wall outlet.

Just make sure to choose the right device for your home. Maybe a combination of devices suites your needs.
You can find more of these products at your local hardware stores, Ebay or on Amazon.

As always I appreciate your feedback or anything that you would like to add so please feel free to leave your comments below.
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