#Invisible Killer Carbon Monoxide Compiled By: Elizabeth Elizondo Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent UT Extension Washington County What is carbon monoxide? A deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. Produced when there is an incomplete burning of various fuels Included: Coal Wood Charcoal Oil Kerosene Propane Natural gas Equipment that is powered by internal combustion engines (i.e. generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers (1). Picture: http://www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/FactsaboutCarbonMonoxideDetectors.asp Statistics
An average of 170 people in the U.S. die from CO produced by nonautomotive consumer products. (i.e. furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters, portable generators, fireplaces, and charcoal burned in homes and enclosed spaces). Some deaths have occurred with individuals leaving cars running in attached garages. (1) Symptoms Low to Moderate Exposure Initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu but without the fever High Exposure Progressively more severe symptoms Mental Confusion Headache Vomiting
Fatigue Loss of muscular coordination Shortness of breath Loss of consciousness Nausea Ultimately death (1) Dizziness (1) Severity of Symptoms Depends on your exposure based on both CO level and how long you were exposed. With slow exposure occupants and/or physicians can mistake the low/moderate level exposure as the flu, which can sometime result in death.
Rapid, High level of CO exposure, can lose muscle control and be mentally confused without showing the milder symptoms, and will die if not rescued. (1) Make sure appliances are installed and operate according to manufacturers instructions. Many appliance should be installed by a licensed professional. Fuel-burning appliances, NEVER SERVICE without proper knowledge, skill, and tools. Portable generators or any other gasoline engine-powered tool, should NEVER be operated in or near an enclosed space (i.e. garage, house, or
other building). CO can build up quickly into lethal levels, so DO NOT use with even the doors and windows open. Have a CO alarm installed that meets UL 2034 safety standard. CO provide some protection but should not be substituted for proper use and upkeep of appliances. (1) Prevention Prevention Continued NEVER use portable fuel-burning equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent unless it is designed for such use and has specific directions for that use. NEVER burn charcoal in a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
NEVER leave a car running inside an attached garage, even with the garage door open. NEVER use gas appliances to heat your home, such as ranges, ovens, or even clothes dryers. NEVER, in ANY rooms people sleep in, use unvented fuel-burning appliances NEVER, with aluminum foil, cover the bottom of natural gas or propane ovens. Doing this can create CO since there is not proper air flow. If renovating be sure that tarps or debris is not blocking chimneys and vents. Also, be sure that appliances work correctly have the renovations. (1) Dangerous Levels Most people will not experience any symptoms with prolonged exposure of
approximately 1 to 70 ppm of CO. However, effects depend on concentration of CO, exposure of length, and individuals health condition. As the level increases above 70 ppm the symptoms become more noticeable headache fatigue nausea Sustained concentrations above 150-200 ppm disorientation
unconsciousness death is possible (1) CO Alarms How do I test my CO alarm? Are they reliable? Detectors are designed to alarm individuals before any potentially life-threatening levels are reached. Follow the manufacturers directions.
The test button is used to test the circuitry to make sure it is operating correctly and not for the sensor accuracy. ALL alarms have a replacement age. (1) The standards for the detectors are continually improved. CO Alarms Continued My alarm is sounding, what do I do?!?! Installation Follow the manufacturers instructions.
Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends installing: NEVER IGNORE!!!!! It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. DO NOT try to find the source. Outside each bedroom area and other sleeping areas Move to fresh air outside. Call 911
Can be installed in a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall Do a head count to make sure all individuals are accounted for. Hard-wire CO detectors need to have a battery back-up Avoid locations near heating vent or areas where the detector can be covered by drapes or furniture. DO NOT re-enter the premises until emergency responders give you the go ahead.
If it is found to be a malfunctioning appliance, DO NOT operate until the appliance has been properly serviced by a trained professional. (1) Avoid installing in kitchens and/or above fuelburning appliances What do I do if my alarm sounds again after being able to return to my home? If authorities have given you permission to re-enter and the alarm sounds again within 24 hours, repeat the steps listed prior. Make sure fuel burning equipment and appliance are inspected properly by a certified technician for any problems. Any combustion equipment that is not inspected by the professional, refer to the manufacturers manual.
Be sure that motor vehicles, in attached garages or adjacent garages, are and have not been operating in such areas. (1) Recreational Vehicles Recreational Vehicle Industry Association requires CO alarms in all motor home and in trailers. There are alarms for boats and recreational vehicles, and SHOULD BE USED! Tennessee Requirements The state of TN requires Carbon Monoxide detectors in private dwellings. Tennessee T.C.A. 68-120-101 -- Construction Safety Standards
The state fire marshal is required to establish minimum statewide building construction safety standards. Beginning in January 2016, carbon monoxide alarms are required for within 10 feet of each sleeping room in every hotel or building with a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, and attached garage, or other feature, fixture or element that emits carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion. Tennessee T.C.A. 68-120-112 Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms; hotels and motels; apartment buildings Requires hotels that have fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, and attached garage, or other feature, fixture or element that emits carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion to install carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of each sleeping room. Only applies to hotel built before January 2016. (2) September 18 Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day in Tennessee In 2014 Governor Bill Haslam signed a Proclamation saying that September 18 is hence forth Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day in Tennessee.
This is in response to the tragic loss of six adults, while sleeping in a rented RV, who lost their lives to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on September 18, 2011 at the 30th annual Bikers Who Care Charity Event. They left behind 13 children and many family and friends. Resources 1. Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. December 2015. http://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/CarbonMonoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers/ 2. Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements, Laws, and Regulations. National Conference of Sate Legislatures. September 2015. http:// www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/carbon-mono xide-detectors-state-statutes.aspx
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