A fire that erupts in the kitchen is an emergency that everyone will notice immediately, but a deadly carbon monoxide leak might go undetected until everyone in the house is sick or worse. Because this odorless, colorless gas can buildup in enclosed spaces with no warning, carbon monoxide devices should be part of a home's security monitoring services.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says around 170 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. This figure excludes automotive-related carbon monoxide incidents.
Items that May Prove Deadly
It's easy to think a home doesn't have devices that produce carbon monoxide, but most homes will indeed have at least one or two machines that could produce the poisonous gas. Leaving a car running in a closed garage is the example most people think of when they consider how carbon monoxide poisoning occurs. However, there are several common CO-producing appliances inside the average home.
• Room heaters
• Water heaters
In addition, just about any type of equipment that includes an engine will produce carbon monoxide fumes, which is why proper ventilation is essential during the use of any machine. A home security alarm system with CO detectors may be a lifesaver if one of those appliances malfunctions.
How CO Detectors Save Lives
A CO detector is a remarkable, yet simple, device that measures the amount of CO gas in the surrounding atmosphere. The device is made up of a CO gas sensor, wires that connect to the home security alarm system, and a microchip that's the "brain" of the operation.
Essentially, if carbon monoxide is in the air, the CO detector senses it and sends a signal to the security system. In addition, a loud alarm will sound, similar to a smoke detector alarm to let occupants know that CO buildup has started to occur.
Knowing the Symptoms
Carbon monoxide buildup occurs when fuel doesn't burn completely. CO damages the body because it infiltrates the blood stream and reduces the oxygen level of the body's red blood cells. This means that vital organs around the body like the lungs, heart and brain might not get the oxygen they need to survive.
CO poisoning may cause death, but it may also cause permanent damage to the body with prolonged exposure. Minimal exposure is not as dangerous, which is why the addition of a CO detector may not only save lives, but also prevent permanent brain damage.
However, it's best not to rely solely on the detector and know common symptoms of CO poisoning. Those symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Symptoms of extended exposure include vomiting, loss of consciousness, mental fog and potential death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that an overwhelming number of CO exposures occur in the home. Don't become another statistic. Ensure your home and family are protected with security monitoring services that include a CO detector.