Carbon Monoxide: Two Minute Refresher

January is the deadliest month for carbon monoxide poisoning. The Texas Poison Center Network reports that each year from 1999 to 2004, 15,000 people were sent to the emergency room due to unintentional carbon monoxide exposure, with an average of over 400 people dying each year.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide, or “CO” is an odorless gas that can kill you. It has established a reputation for being “The Silent Killer” by organizations such as the New York Fire Department because it can not be seen, smelled, or tasted, and it is toxic and deadly. The burning fuel of engines, furnaces, gas ranges, grills, and stoves creates carbon monoxide.

These toxic fumes poison your body when you inhale them. The carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells and keeps it from reaching your tissues and organs. One of the most common carbon monoxide incidents occurs when running your car inside your garage to warm it up. This can raise the level of CO in the rest of your home, even if the garage door is open. If your car has keyless ignition, keep the keys far from your vehicle when it’s it in the garage.

How would I know carbon monoxide was in my home? Are there symptoms?

The problem is that, without a detector, you would not. There are a variety of symptoms that come from CO poisoning, but they all can be mistaken for the flu or fatigue. According to the Mayo Center, these symptoms include blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness. When someone loses consciousness due to CO poisoning, it may ultimately become too late to save them.

Do I need to update my CO detector?

It depends. A carbon monoxide alarm needs to be replaced every five to seven years depending on the manufacturer’s label. If you don’t remember how old your detector is, it may be time for a change. Good Housekeeping reported that because legislation for carbon monoxide alarms passed in many states back in 2011, many families’ devices have expired by now. You can also test your CO alarm to see if it’s working or needs its batteries replaced. Another issue with common hardware store CO monitors is that they might not be loud enough to wake you up. If it does, you may still take in enough carbon monoxide to keep you from answering the phone.

Can B Safe help?

Yes. Our carbon monoxide monitors are hooked up to your security system’s control panel and are designed to wake even the hard of hearing from a deep night’s sleep. Our monitoring company watches over your control panel and will call you to make sure everything is okay. If there is an incident of poisoning, they will dispatch the fire department to your home.

B Safe Security protects the inside of your home from carbon monoxide just as we protect it from potential invaders. We have discounted our Life Safety packages involving our CO detectors and smoke alarms to better protect our clients. Residential systems only. Some restrictions apply. Give us a call at 800-432-3473, and we’ll make sure your home is protected.