Carbon monoxide, as you know, is the gas that is produced from the incomplete burning of different fuels. Those fuels range from, the gas that your range, fireplace, and furnace use. To the gas that is used to fuel your car, all of those items produce carbon monoxide that can and will kill you if not handled with care and/or used properly or with proper venting. Carbon Monoxide proves fatal when it is released into an enclosed area that has little to no ventilation. When you breathe in carbon monoxide it binds to the part in your red blood that is responsible for getting oxygen to your cells because CO will bind over oxygen less and less oxygen is carried to your cells which causes the cells to die causing the tissues in your body to die and organs to shut down causing death.
As scary as CO poising sounds, and is, it is easily prevented from harming you, your family and pets by taking certain precautions.
- Install CO detectors and place them close to where you can hear the alarm if it goes off, preferably ones that have a battery back-up and replace the batteries every six months.
- Get your heating system, water heater and any appliances that use gas, oil or coal services by a professional technician each year.
- Get your chimney cleaned each year.
- Never patch any vent pipe with anything other than the materials meant for patching vents.
- Only use a gas range or oven for cooking and never for heating.
- NEVER burn charcoal indoors.
- Portable gas stoves should only be used outdoors.
- Make sure to operate gasoline-powered tools, engines, generators, etc. in a well ventilated area and never use for long periods of time if using items near doors or windows.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is estimated that more than 450 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning, more than 20,000 people have been to the emergency room for CO poisoning and over 3500 have been hospitalized. Of those who have died over 200 of those deaths were from consumer products like a stove, water heater, faulty furnace or generator.