No fair warning, invisible to human senses, no mercy on unsuspecting families.
The vicious traits of carbon monoxide make it one of one of the most ruthless and dangerous threats to American families. Known as the invisible killer, CO is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane, burn incompletely. A natural byproduct of many household appliances including hot water heaters, grills, furnaces, fireplaces, stoves and room heaters, CO can strike unsuspectingly in kitchens, in garages and in living rooms and kills in minutes.
“You may not be able to see it, taste it or smell it, but something as simple as installing a CO alarm, knowing what to look for and what to do if your alarm sounds, could make a huge difference in helping prevent unnecessary tragedy.”
According to a study by Underwriters Laboratories, “Sixty percent of Americans could not identify any potential signs of a CO leak in their home.”
And unlike a fire, a family will never sense CO coming unless their home has a working CO detector. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in 2010 – an alarming 96 percent increase since 2003. Each year, tens of thousands of people across the USA are poisoned by CO. Countless more suffer mild CO symptoms daily and potentially long-term health effects from repeated exposure to low levels of CO at work or in their homes.
Children, seniors and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions are most at risk to CO.
In many cases, a working CO alarm is the only way to detect the presence of CO before it harms your family. As Safety.com’s Erin Raub notes, “Carbon monoxide alarms help save lives every day.”
The CO Tripwire
CO alarms function similarly to smoke alarms. If CO levels are present in your home, the detector will emit a sharp beeping sound to alert people to the danger. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area, in the kitchen and living room, close to your home’s furnace, on every level of the home and in other areas required by applicable state, city and community laws, codes and standards.
Unlike smoke, CO mixes with the air and doesn’t naturally rise. CO experts advise installing CO alarms at knee level – the approximate height of a sleeping person’s nose and mouth. Keep detectors clear of furniture, curtains and obstructive objects, for restricted airflow can affect their function.
Like smoke detectors, regular testing is essential to their efficiency. Batteries should be changed twice a year. Most expects recommend changing batteries during Daylight Savings time changes.
Affordable & Fair CO Warning
The best part of CO alarms: they are affordable lifesavers, retailing on average from $15-60 dollars. Most CO detectors have a lifespan of 10 years.
And when it comes to protecting your family against an undetectable, vicious killer than claims 500 American lives per year, having working CO alarms throughout your home is a must. Also have a certified inspector search your home for signs of CO at least once annually and IMMEDIATELY after your home’s CO alarm goes off.
Don’t sleep on the silent killer. Inspect, Protect and Detect with home CO alarms.
“It’s evident we all need to be more aware and take the necessary steps to protect our loved ones from CO poisoning,” said John Drengenberg, director of Consumer Safety at UL. “You may not be able to see it, taste it or smell it, but something as simple as installing a CO alarm, knowing what to look for and what to do if your alarm sounds, could make a huge difference in helping prevent unnecessary tragedy.”