Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas created from any source that burns fuel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
Every autumn, fire departments across the nation take part in the annual Fire Prevention Week to promote not only fire safety, but the risks of CO. This year’s Fire Prevention Week took place from October 7 – 13, featuring the theme “look, listen and learn.”
Fire departments also educate communities across the U.S. and Canada about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms include headache, nausea and dizziness. As it builds in your system, symptoms worsen and may include confusion, drowsiness, fast breathing, fast heartbeat, chest pain, vision problems or seizures.
In homes, CO can escape from furnaces, water heaters, stoves, fireplaces, chimneys or space heaters. It can also be created by an automobile idling in a closed or attached garage. In cold weather, the risks increase, as more home owners use fuel-burning heating systems when doors and windows are closed. One of the best methods to prevent CO poisoning is to install an alarm, outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.
An additional tool for fire departments, is the Uniphos MiniCO® dosimeter tube, which can be placed near a suspected CO source. It is a calibrated, passive measurement device, and will show a very distinct color change if the average CO concentration exceeds 25 ppm over the prescribed periods of one or seven days. If this is the case, 911/the fire department should be called. It can be used for such investigational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for a continuous, battery-operated or hard-wired CO detector with an audible alarm.
For more information on Uniphos products that can help detect carbon monoxide, contact the Uniphos team at 1-844-247-0450.