Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

Written by on 3/15/2013 9:25 AM in , , . It has 2 Comments.

HPM Insurance CO Tips 

If you were to hear that there was a very scary monster that could kill you and your family in your home, you would probably sit up and pay close attention.  You would be even more concerned if you learned that you could neither see, nor smell the "monster" before it attacks.

Sound too scary to be true - think again.  It is carbon monoxide poisoning and the frequency of occurrences is increasing according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFIP).  Carbon monoxide poisoning is exactly what claimed the lives of a couple in their home earlier this week in Barrington, NH according to WMUR.

What Exactly is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil or methane) burn incompletely.  How would you know the fuel did not burn completely?  You wouldn't, so here are a few tips that should be followed.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home and in other locations as required by applicable laws, codes or standards.  For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home, that way when one goes off, they all go off.  Please be sure to call a professional for such a job.

  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for placement, mounting and height.

  • Test the CO alarm at least once a month and replace according to manufacturer's instructions.

  • If audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries and replace if necessary.  If it still sounds, call the fire department.

  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors.  Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for and call the fire department.  Do not return inside until emergency personnel give you the clear.

  • Remember that CO poisoning can also happen outside the home. For example, if you like to warm your vehicle, be sure to remove it from the garage.  Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open.  Make sure that the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.

  • During and after a snowstorm make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and ice build-up.

  • If a generator is needed, it should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

  • Gas or charcoal grills also produce CO, so only use outside.

Some Scary Carbon Monoxide Facts:

In 2010, US Fire Departments responded to approximately 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found.  That is an average of 9 calls an hour.

A person or animal can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a long amount of time, or by a large amount of CO over a short amount of time.

CO poisoning is not seasonal.  In truth, I actually wrote this blog at the end of February 2013, but then decided to hold it because we are quickly approaching spring. I felt it was not relevant anymore and I should keep it for next winter.  That was until I read the story about the couple dying this week in their home from CO poisoning.  That incident is terrifying and a close-to-home reminder that we should all take the simple steps necessary to protect ourselves and our families.

Stay safe!

Comments

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  1. Mick's avatar Mick
    I just installed new carbon monoxide alarms in my bedrooms and living area. In Washington state, a new law went into effect requiring them in homes, condos, and apt's. I picked up a two pack at our local Costco. :)
    Reply 3/19/2013 2:01 PM
  2. April McBriarty-Weismann's avatar April McBriarty-Weismann
    That is great Mick! We are glad you are being proactive.
    Reply 3/21/2013 7:16 PM

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  9. Re: Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

    That is great Mick! We are glad you are being proactive.

    -- April McBriarty-Weismann

  10. Re: Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

    I just installed new carbon monoxide alarms in my bedrooms and living area. In Washington state, a new...

    -- Mick

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