Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that if inhaled, can be deadly.
With several strong winter storms bearing down on the tri-state area, there is always the possibility of power outages. Before you hook up that generator, learn the proper steps to protect your family from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400 people across the United States die each year from accidental CO poisoning unrelated to fires. CO fumes from burning fuel – whether it be a car, stove, furnace or generator, can quickly build up inside of any enclosed space. These fumes can become deadly, even before anyone experiences symptoms.
A working CO detector will alert you to a rise in the deadly fumes. One on every floor of your home is your best bet. The CDC recommends a detector with a digital readout, which can tell you the concentration of CO in your home.
Avoiding CO poisoning
There are also steps to take to avoid CO fumes in the first place. Keep your home’s heater and water heater in good repair. Check your chimney annually for any buildup or blockage. During heavy snow, make sure all vents are cleared and remain unblocked.
The CDC also recommends purchasing gas equipment only if it carries the Underwriters’ Laboratories seal. Make sure gas appliances are vented properly and inspect them at least once a year. Never start your parked vehicle in a garage that is attached to your house or in an unattached garage unless the door is fully opened. Doing so could cause weakness, confusion and loss of consciousness.
When the lights go out
When the power goes out, many people depend on generators to keep their homes and businesses warm. Remember, never use a generator inside of a house, garage or basement. Place the generator at least 20 feet away from any doors, windows or other openings. Make sure to use a battery operated CO detector anytime you use a generator.
Also, never use a stove, oven, camping stove, charcoal grill or any gasoline-powered equipment in any enclosed space.
CO poisoning symptoms
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be lethal. It can impact you before you even realize there is a problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of CO poisoning can include headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can succumb to CO poisoning before a problem is recognized.
If you believe you may have CO poisoning, get outside as quickly as possible and call 911.
If you have any questions about residential or commercial alarm systems or the installation of CO detectors to your existing alarm system, call Delco Alarm Systems at 610-494-9100. Based in Aston, we provide service to the tri-state area.