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Carbon Monoxide, the Unseen Killer..

What Is It?

Each winter, there are many emergency calls related to an unseen killer, carbon monoxide poisoning. Before going any further, let me explain what Carbon Monoxide is. It is an odorless and colorless chemical produced from ignition in your water heater, furnace, stove, dryer, barbecue grills, fireplace, generators and space heaters.

A little concentration of 10 PPM (parts per million) is dangerous because its symptoms are similar to the flu, headache, dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness and confusion, the first stages of poisoning are difficult to recognise and often overlooked. A 400-PPM concentration can kill your or any family member in less than a few hours. CO 0r (carbon monoxide) poisoning continue to rise for the last decade. Carbon monoxide is impossible to detect without a detector, unlike fire, which may give you some warning, carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless. You won’t see it coming.

For this reason, it is of vital importance that you take steps in preventing this disaster from happening in your home.

Nine Tips To Protect Your Home

1. A CO detector could prove to be of help if you think your home needs one. Use a product that is approved and meets Industry standards and regulations. You should install it near the bedrooms. Nevertheless, refrain from putting it near fuel burning appliances since it could give an erroneous reading and trigger a false alarm.

2. Make sure that all your fuel-fired appliances should be checked every year. See to it that everything is constantly vented outside. Never vent a gas dryer into the home so that you can save on the cost of heating.

3. Refrain from heating your home using burners, the oven or a gas stove. Running all burners for a long time can bring enough carbon monoxide in your home and can cause respiratory problems.

4. Do not use a portable generator (don’t laugh some people do this) inside your home, crawl space, attic, garage or any other closed building. Put them away from openings like a vent or attic that could draw carbon monoxide into the spaces.

5. Refrain from warming your car in any enclosed or attached garage even if the door is open. Particularly in cold weather, carbon monoxide will be drawn into the living space through the vent systems and doorways.

6. Make it a point to maintain chimneys and flues regularly. The CO that is supposed to go out the chimney can come inside your home if you do not practice regular maintenance of this area.

7. Avoid using charcoal grill inside your home. The amount of CO put out by a charcoal grill is very high. Even when using it near a window can still be dangerous.

8. Check your local building and fire codes to find information regarding the fire codes for your wood stove. Get in touch with the Fire and Rescue or a reputable fire protection specialist and inquire if your unit has to be inspected personally and what the code in your area is.

9. Your chimney if you have one, (as many older homes do) also needs oxygen for breathing, just as you do. Opening a damper will create a draft that goes up in the chimney. This will provide your fireplace air to burn more effectively. Furthermore, this will also provide ventilation for both smoke and carbon monoxide.

Remember, your home should be a place of safety, you will not only be protecting one of the biggest investments in your life but more importantly, you are also protecting the most precious of all, the lives of your loved ones.

Yours In Fire Safety



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