Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
What you need to know to keep your family safe
As a homeowner who uses propane products, there are some safety matters you should be aware of. Carbon monoxide (commonly referred to as CO) is a dangerous, potentially poisonous gas, and exposure to it can lead to a serious medical emergency or even death. It’s important that you know what factors put you at risk and how to identify the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and take appropriate action.
General carbon monoxide info
Here is some important information about carbon monoxide:
- In its natural state, carbon monoxide has no odor or color.
- It’s produced when a fuel is burned (e.g., coal, heating oil, propane, wood, etc.).
- Carbon monoxide poisoning can result after exposure to the gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause illness, disorientation, and even death.
- Carbon monoxide tends to build up when there’s inadequate ventilation or poorly functioning equipment. An obstructed vent or flue, a broken or poorly malfunctioning heating system, or the overuse of an unvented heating appliance all have the potential to produce a buildup of carbon monoxide in your western North Carolina home.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning is the cause of approximately 20,000 emergency room visits every year.
First Aid for carbon monoxide poisoning
Length of exposure to carbon monoxide affects the severity of the resulting carbon monoxide poisoning. Limited exposure can produce flu-like symptoms. Moderate exposure can lead to severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation. Prolonged exposure can cause unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and even death.
Do you know what to do if you or someone around you has been exposed to carbon monoxide and is showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? Follow these steps:
- Get them into fresh air as soon as possible. If you’re inside, open all nearby windows and doors as you proceed outside as quickly as possible.
- Call 911. (Remember, carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious emergency.)
- Have your propane appliances inspected by a professional before you use them again.
You can visit the Mayo Clinic website for more detailed information on carbon monoxide poisoning.
How to avoid carbon monoxide dangers in your home
Even though carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous, you can avoid its dangers in your western North Carolina home by taking the steps below:
- Schedule regular maintenance visits (at least yearly) for all of your heating equipment. A trained professional should be able to spot any potential hazards before they put your household at risk.
- Equip every floor of your home with a carbon monoxide detector. Replace the batteries yearly. Replace the detectors themselves every five years.
- Regularly check to see that your outdoor exhaust vents are clear. Inspect your vents, flues, etc. after every storm to make sure they’re clear. When doing the cleaning yourself, use something soft like a broom to avoid causing damage to your equipment.
- Because pets tend to be smaller, they’ll often show signs of carbon monoxide exposure before the people in the environment. If your pet seems sick, uncharacteristically drowsy, or reluctant to wake up, get the animal outside, open your windows, and check your CO detectors.
- Never, ever use outdoor equipment inside (e.g., BBQ grills, portable generators, space heaters). If it’s meant for outdoor use, there is no safe way to use it indoors.
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You can trust the professionals at James Oxygen & Supply. Contact us today to learn more. And stay safe!