Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. It robs our blood of the oxygen our heart and brain need to work properly. Early symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness and nausea. If you remain continually exposed, CO poisoning causes unconsciousness, brain damage, and death. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to sound an alarm based upon the level of CO and the period of time it has been detected.
What to do if your CO detector goes into alarm:
Locate your CO detector; make sure that the detector is sounding in "alarm" for a CO reading.
If the alarm is due to a CO reading, or you are feeling any of the symptoms related to CO poisoning, evacuate your home immediately and call 9-1-1.
Make sure you inform the 9-1-1 operator of the following:
The type of detector (CO detector in this case)
Whether everyone is out of the house
Whether you feel any symptoms
Wait outside or at a neighbors house for emergency vehicles to arrive. Do NOT go back inside for any reason until you have been told that your house is safe.
Most carbon monoxide accidents are preventable. Some basic causes of CO poisoning include:
Using a gas oven to heat a room
Running a car inside an enclosed space
Running a car for a prolonged period of time in an open garage
Defective gas or oil furnaces and water heaters
Cracked chimney flues
Closing the fireplace damper before the fire is completely out
There are 2 types of CO detectors commonly found on the market. The cost of both are similar. Also both detectors get more sensitive over time. No matter which type of detector you have, it should be tested monthly to make sure it works. Follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with the product.
One type of detector is plugged into a wall socket and has a life span of 5-10 years. This detector requires little to no maintenance over time. This type of detector normally gives a constant readout of the CO level and will reset automatically once the CO levels lower to non-hazardous conditions. If it is possible, you should buy a plug in CO detector that comes with a battery back-up.
The other type of detector uses a chemical sensor and battery. The sensor/battery usually has a 2 year limited warranty and lasts approximately 2 year when the sensor/battery must be replaced. When the battery is low, there is a warning to let you know. The convenience of this detector is that it can be placed in whatever location desired as it does not require a wall socket for power.
Every CO detector is unique. Be sure to read the details of the detector before you buy it.
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The materials presented in this website are distributed by the Hillcrest Fire Company No. 1, its members and officers, as well as the Moleston Fire District and its Commissioners as an informational source only. The information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed. Although every possible discretion is used to ensure the general suitability of this information, all readers are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements, and information for their accuracy. The Hillcrest Fire Company No. 1, its members and officers, as well as the Moleston Fire District and its Commissioners shall not be held liable to any persons for the information or advice provided in this web site or incorporated into it by reference or for loss or damages incurred as a result of reliance upon the material contained in this website.