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Carbon Monoxide: How Safe Are You?

Overview: Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas that causes unnecessary deaths every year throughout Canada. How much do you know about carbon monoxide? In this blog we'll take a look at what carbon monoxide poisoning is, where carbon monoxide comes from, and what you can do avoid it.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that kills on average 50 people every year in Canada, but by taking a few simple precautions you can avoid the dangers of this deadly gas and keep you and your family safe. First, let's take a closer look at what carbon monoxide poisoning is and why it's so dangerous.

What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels, such as gas, wood, coal, kerosene, and oil. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you inhale an excessive amount of this gas.

The gas kills by replacing the oxygen in your body with carbon monoxide. This starves your organs of oxygen, which then kills your cells and shuts down your body.

Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?

There are various sources of carbon monoxide depending on where you live or work. In the workplace, these are a few common sources:

  • internal combustion engines
  • kilns
  • boilers and furnaces
  • welding
  • moulding of plastics
  • ceramic, forging, petroleum, steel and waste management industries
  • space heaters and improperly adjusted oil or gas burners
  • fires and explosions
  • cigarettes
  • vehicle exhausts

In the home, or during recreational life, these are a few common sources:

  • vehicle exhausts
  • boat engines
  • barbeques
  • gas burners
  • fireplaces
  • kerosene space heaters

Why Is Carbon Monoxide So Dangerous?

Carbon monoxide poisoning is so dangerous because the gas has no colour, taste or smell and it only takes a couple of minutes to kill. The sources of carbon monoxide are so common that many forget or do not know the dangers the gas can pose. For example, even sitting in an idling car can be deadly if there is a leak in the vehicle body. Because the gas is so hard to detect, you could easily not notice you were being poisoned.

What Should You Do To Protect Yourself?

There are various ways you can protect yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Firstly, knowing the symptoms when you see them is crucial.

Early carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headaches

Later symptoms include:

  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • increased heart rate
  • problems with vision
  • seizures

An equally important measure to protect you and your family against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. These should be an integral part of any home as it will alert you to any dangerous gas levels long before they become life-threatening. Often high carbon monoxide levels can be caused by something small, such as vehicle exhaust fumes entering through a hole in a garage door, and so being alerted to the situation in good time can allow you to resolve the issue simply rather than having things escalate dangerously.

Bottom Line: Carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous gas that can catch people off guard due to its lack of smell, taste and colour. If you want to avoid the dangerous consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning then it's essential that you are familiar with the sources of carbon monoxide, the symptoms of exposure, and have carbon monoxide alarms installed in all areas of your home where there is fuel combustion of any sort – this includes your garage!

For more information on how you can install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home, contact Frontline Security in Calgary on 403-291-9311 today.

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