The Centers for Disease Control report that carbon monoxide (CO) gas is responsible for about 500 deaths and 15,000 emergency room visits every year. CO gas has no odor, no taste and is not visible. If it is leaking into an occupied structure, it can cause anything from headache to death. The only way to detect its presence is with sophisticated monitoring equipment that has been proven reliable. F.E. Moran is a full-service Eastern Michigan security company that wants to arm your family with the knowledge needed to avoid exposure to deadly CO gas.
Where Does Carbon Monoxide Gas Come From?
CO gas comes from incomplete combustion in fuel-burning devices. Potential sources are any product, device or vehicle that burns any sort of fuel to operate. If something is burning, CO gas can possibly be generated. This includes natural gas, oil, and propane furnaces as well as wood and coal-burning stoves. Portable propane and kerosene heaters are included along with fuel-burning cookstoves, clothes dryers, natural gas and propane water heaters, and any device powered by an internal combustion engine.
Most of the devices mentioned vent gases up through a flue pipe to the outside. They are designed solely for outdoor use, or they produce very little CO gas and are not meant for continuous use such as a kitchen stove. Camping cookstoves and barbecue grills are not designed for indoor use. The CO gas they generate is acceptable when the appliances are used outdoors but would be extremely hazardous if used indoors. Some devices, such as flueless gas heaters are rated for indoor use without the need to exhaust any combustion fumes, but a malfunctioning appliance could generate CO gas.
How Does Carbon Monoxide Kill?
Human blood normally readily absorbs the oxygen (O2) in the air as the blood flows through the lungs. However, the red blood cells have an affinity for CO gas that is 100 times higher than it is for O2 gas. The body needs oxygen to survive, and it cannot use CO gas. The CO gas is absorbed by the red blood cells, and they have a very difficult time absorbing O2 even when no longer exposed to CO. This is why some people die even though they make it to the hospital alive after exposure to higher levels of CO gas.
How to Protect Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A good way to prevent exposure is to keep all fuel-burning appliances designed for indoor use in perfect operating condition. Also, never leave an internal combustion engine running inside a building, and prevent exhaust fumes from creeping in and building up inside buildings. However, since CO is undetectable by human or animal senses, the best active protection is having CO detectors that are connected to a monitored alarm system.
CO detector sensors were once costly and required regular calibration making them only used by fire protection services and other professionals. Now, the sensors are reliable and last for many years, so they are used in homes and businesses everywhere. Though stand-alone CO detectors are available for home use, only the detectors that can be connected to a monitored alarm system are capable of getting help to a family unconscious from CO gas exposure.
F.E. Moran is an Eastern Michigan security company that uses state-of-the-art CO detectors that connect to the home security systems we provide. With the low cost and around-the-clock monitoring of modern wireless alarm systems, there is no reason any family should risk accidental poisoning from CO gas. Most CO sensors are combined into a single unit detector that also has a smoke sensor. The detector will sound the alarm notifying the home’s occupants as well as the monitoring center. They will then dispatch fire protection services and other emergency services personnel as necessary.