Carbon Monoxide Detectors: A $25 dollar solution to a deadly problem
More than 700 people die every year in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning. But many of these deaths could have been avoided by following manufacturer instructions, local building codes or simply getting a $25 dollar battery-operated CO detector.
Texas Human Resources Code requires that qualifying day-care centers, group day-care homes and family homes must be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Since CO detectors are not mandatory for residences, prevention is key and early warning of hazardous levels is critical.
Carbon Monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer. It is odorless and colorless; produced by the incomplete burning of coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. High level CO poisoning symptoms include vomiting, mental confusion, and loss of consciousness and muscular coordination.
Many poisonings occur during power outages when portable generators are used, although cooking, heating equipment and motor vehicles in attached garages are the most common sources, along with camp stoves and lanterns. Here are some tips to prevent CO exposure:
- Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check/replace the battery at least twice a year.
- Have your heating system, water heater and other gas, oil or coal burning appliances inspected and serviced by a technician every year.
- Never use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline device in your home, garage or near a window.
- Don’t run a vehicle inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
- Never heat your home with a gas oven.
- Never allow debris, snow or ice to block the dryer vents, stove or heating equipment.