By Mathew Pearson, Exelgard
As is often reported in the media, exposure to carbon monoxide can have devastating consequences. Dubbed the silent killer, carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless and is therefore difficult to detect.
It is vital that householders take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Everyone should also be aware of the symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide. These include nausea, fatigue, vomiting and headache. Many cases of reported carbon monoxide poisoning show that victims are aware they are not well, but they become so disoriented they are unable to exit the affected building or call for assistance. In extreme cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to unconsciousness and death.
Carbon monoxide is often produced in buildings with older motor vehicles and gas-powered tools, heaters and cooking equipment. Property owners should ensure that any gas equipment on site is regularly serviced and that the premises is adequately ventilated so carbon monoxide can quickly escape.
It’s also a good idea to install a carbon monoxide alarm which can help warn building occupants of danger. Positioning is vital when installing carbon monoxide alarms and it is recommended that an alarm is installed in each bedroom. If the alarm sounds on the carbon monoxide monitor, occupants should immediately move to fresh air and call emergency services.
The following provides some more advice on how to help minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Ensure gas appliances and heaters are regularly serviced
- Never patch up a vent pipe: have all repairs carried out by a professional
- Ensure all gas appliances are vented so carbon monoxide cannot accumulate in the room or building
- Have chimneys cleaned every year
- Gas appliances should never be used inappropriately e.g. using outdoor heaters or gas camp cookers indoors
- Never disconnect a carbon monoxide alarm to silence it. To avoid nuisance alarms, do not place alarms within 152 centimetres of any cooking appliance
- A carbon monoxide alarm is not a substitute for other combustible gas or smoke alarms. Every household should have working smoke alarms in place.
Wormald’s sister company Exelgard has just launched the new Exelgard® Carbon Monoxide Alarm. It looks very similar to a smoke alarm and is designed to detect toxic carbon monoxide gas fumes. The alarm is battery operated alarm and can be easily installed on a residential wall or ceiling.
The Exelgard carbon monoxide alarm is available from Woolworths and is suitable for indoor residential locations such as family homes or mobile dwellings.