Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention and Education
What ERC does with CO prevention and education
- 1 in 4 homes have the potential for a Carbon Monoxide issue
- 80% of the homes ERC serves do not have Carbon Monoxide detectors
- More than 50% of all carbon monoxide incidents occur within homes (CDC)
- Carbon Monoxide is responsible for more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room annually (CDC)
- The audit serves as education for the client
- We install low-level CO detectors
- Provide information in Client Education Folders
What You Need to Know about Carbon Monoxide
Can’t be seen
Can’t be smelled
Can’t be heard
Can be stopped
Is it the FLU or your FLUE?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, deadly gas. Because you can’t see, taste or smell it, CO is known as the silent killer. Like any fuel, natural gas needs enough oxygen from combustion air to burn safely and completely. Without enough oxygen, the burn is incomplete and CO results. CO is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, displacing oxygen, eventually resulting in brain damage or death. Dangerous levels of CO can especially affect unborn babies, infants and people with anemia or a history of heart disease.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
Physical symptoms of CO poisoning vary, depending on the amount of CO absorbed into the bloodstream and the time one is exposed to CO. Carbon Monoxide poisoning symptoms are commonly mistaken for the Flu. They share all the same symptoms except a fever.
- Slight headache
- Flu-like symptoms
- Severe headache
- Rapid heart rate
- Cardiac/respiratory failure
What to do if you suspect CO in your home or business
- Leave the premises and get fresh air immediately.
- Call 9-1-1.
- If experiencing the flu-like symptoms of CO poisoning, seek medical attention.
- Call your heating fuel supplier or a licensed heating contractor for an emergency inspection.
- Do not return to your home or business until the source of CO has been discovered and the problem has been corrected.
How do I reduce the risk of CO poisoning?
You can prevent CO poisoning through proper appliance installation, maintenance and use. Colorado law requires that all residences using fuel-burning heat sources or appliances, or possessing an attached garage be equipped with a CO detector. The detector must be installed within 15 feet of entrances to any sleeping area. Follow these steps to protect you and your family.
- Install a CO detector on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- When purchasing a CO detector, be sure it conforms to Underwriters Laboratories standard (UL) 2034 or is American Gas Association certified.
- Follow the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions.
- Be sure there’s a test button to verify that the detector is working.
- Have a qualified professional annually inspect your heating and cooling equipment. The contractor should check appliance vents for corrosion and blockage. The appliance itself should be checked for cleanliness, proper adjustment and approved connectors.
- Never operate a vehicle, lawn mower, snow blower or other fuel burning equipment in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- Do not use your gas range or oven for heat. Never burn charcoal indoors.
- Make sure your clothes dryer is properly vented and free of lint.
- When you have a fire going in your fireplace, crack open a window a couple inches to allow for adequate outside air for combustion.
- When camping, do not operate a fuel-burning heater, lantern, or stove inside your tent or camper without proper ventilation. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.