One of the benefits of living in California is year round moderate temperatures. When the rest of the country is shoveling snow and fighting desperately to stay warm, we are taking long walks on the beach and grilling out with friends and neighbors. Because Californians don’t heat natural fuels continuously throughout the winter, many residents are unconcerned with the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. The truth is, though, this silent, deadly killer can still be lurking in your home.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels including coil, wood, charcoal, kerosene, oil, propane and natural gas. Deemed the “silent killer” by firefighters because you can’t see, smell or taste it, CO can lead to illness and even death.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Even at low levels, carbon monoxide can have a fast effect on many people. These early symptoms include headaches, dizziness and nausea, which people are prone to dismiss prematurely. As you breathe CO, it builds up in the blood, and as that level rises, symptoms can include confusion, drowsiness, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, chest pain, vision problems and even seizures. Many times, people think they have the flu when, in fact, they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?
At high volumes, carbon monoxide can kill, but even at low volumes, it can cause complications over time, including brain damage. CO is particularly dangerous indoors due to how fast concentration levels can rise. Potential sources of carbon monoxide in the home include furnaces, fireplaces, gas stoves, gas water heaters and even automobile exhaust from an attached garage. CO can kill a family member overnight, and it can have a devastating long-term effect, particularly among kids, who are still growing and thus have a high metabolism.
Why carbon monoxide monitoring?
The best alarm systems in Los Angeles include carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home and attached buildings. Around-the-clock monitoring is crucial because the monitoring station will receive immediate notification if a CO emergency occurs or a CO sensor fails. Ideally, you should have a professional install your CO detectors and test them on a regular basis. Most home security monitoring companies include those services in their basic packages.
What should I do if high levels of carbon monoxide are detected in my home?
If a carbon monoxide alarm activates or you receive a call from your security service, don’t procrastinate. Get everyone outdoors immediately. Help the children, elderly, disabled and family pets first, and then call 911. Wait outside for the firefighters and paramedics to arrive.
If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in the home, don’t take any chances. If multiple people in a home are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it’s best to open the windows and let fresh air in even if it seems counterintuitive.
Your best defense against CO poisoning, however, is contacting a professional home security monitoring company to install carbon monoxide detectors. Then, you will know for sure if this dangerous gas has seeped into your home.