Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. That isn’t just a flashy nickname. It’s an unfortunate truth. Because it is an odourless, colourless gas, it cannot be detected without carbon monoxide detectors. An inability to recognize the presence of the deadly gas quickly after it makes its way into your home can lead to death. This is an all-too-tragic fact, as reported by Mariam Matti of CTV Toronto.
In March of 2014, she reported on the death of a Brampton, Ontario family that had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. “The family had been using two portable propane heaters indoors to keep the house warm after their furnace broke, according to police,” reports Matti, noting that all fuel-burning appliances and wood stoves can serve as culprits to the emission of carbon monoxide gas. As such, they should be professionally serviced.
“Carbon monoxide comes from the burning of various fuels — propane, natural gas, wood burning appliances and gas barbeques,” she quotes Raynald Marchand, the general manager at Canada Safety Council, as saying. Matti goes on to insist that generators or oil-based heaters never be operated in enclosed spaces. “Marchand said a common mistake people make is bringing appliances meant for outdoor use inside their home,” reveals Matti.
What are some of the early warning signs of carbon monoxide? Because it is so difficult to detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the home, it’s of vital importance to be mindful of the symptoms that surround its exposure. They include fatigue, headaches, disorientation, shortness of breath, nausea and impaired motor functions, Matti lists. She also notes that chest pain, poor vision and dizziness can arise due to exposure to low levels of the gas over time.
What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous? “If allowed to accumulate, it can fatally starve the human body of oxygen,” reports The Canadian Press, courtesy of CityNews, “Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the bloodstream, normally has a spot reserved for the oxygen molecule. Carbon monoxide binds to that spot instead, preventing oxygen from being effectively carried to the rest of the body. High exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.”
The Canadian Press also reports that in January of this year, a 15-month-old girl was credited with saving the lives of her parents and pets after carbon monoxide entered their Kamloops, British Columbia home. According to the report, “the toddler was crying in the middle of the night, which alerted her parents.” Thankfully, this family was able to avoid joining the list of the 380 people who died due to accidental CO poisoning between 2000 and 2009, as reported by Statistics Canada.
What precautions can be taken to prevent CO from entering the home? “Health Canada says every home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed to warn if CO levels pose a threat,” says The Canadian Press, “An ideal location for a detector would be hallways outside bedrooms, since noise from the alarm could potentially wake up occupants in case of emergency.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. As such, we offer Air Quality Services among many others that work to pinpoint any problem areas in the home that may be negatively impacting its indoor air quality. For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.