Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Carbon Monoxide

So I just had a carbon monoxide scare! :O
And I don't want anyone to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, so here's some facts:
  • Carbon Monoxide (or CO) is ODORLESS and COLORLESS, and it can KILL you before you know it's there
  • Lower levels of exposure to CO causes mild effects such as headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue (which are often mistaken for the flu)
  • About 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. (like malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in enclosed areas)
  • 47/94 deaths caused by generator-related CO poisoning occurred during power outages

Tips on Staying Safe
  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
  • Consider purchasing a vented space heater when replacing an unvented one.
  • Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves.
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
  • Choose properly sized wood stoves that are certified to meet EPA emission standards. Make certain that doors on all wood stoves fit tightly.
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly.
  • Do not idle the car inside garage.
  • Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • And of course, GET A CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM. It's like a fire alarm, except that it will alert you to carbon monoxide - if it goes off, get out! Then call 911 (or if you're in another country, whatever your emergency number is). That's what the instructions on my CO alarm say, at least.
(Sources: here and here, as well as my previous knowledge)

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