image showing carbon monoxide / fire alarm for use in the home

The Hidden Danger that is Carbon Monoxide

We’re celebrating Science Week and here are a few interesting facts about Carbon Monoxide. The Safety Centre at Milton Keynes believes everyone should know about at them.

 5-14 march

The hidden danger – Carbon Monoxide…

by Jodie Connolly, The Safety Centre

Each year in the UK Carbon Monoxide poisoning causes around 60 accidental deaths.

Carbon Monoxide is a gas. You can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, or feel it!

So, if we can’t see it or hear it, how will we know it’s there?

A carbon monoxide detector will let you know by detecting its levels and bleeping, just like a smoke alarm. A common signal that there is Carbon Monoxide would show when stains appear on boilers, sooty marks on gas fires, a fireplace appears blocked, and yellow/orange flames appear instead of blue flames on gas appliances.

But, where does it come from?

CO is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, wood and coal do not burn properly. Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained, or poorly ventilated household appliances are the most common causes of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide. This includes items such as cookers, heaters and central heating boilers,

What does Carbon Monoxide do to the body?

It sticks to your red blood cells and travels through the body to each organ.

What will this do?

Even low-level exposure will make you tired, drowsy, have headaches, and feel dizzy and sick, but the symptoms are not always obvious. People experience similar symptoms to that of flu and food poisoning, without the high temperature. Gradual exposure worsens and it can lead to serious complications, and in the worst cases death.

So, what can you do to avoid it?

Maintain and service your appliances. Get your boiler regularly checked, do not install heating systems yourself. Maintain chimneys and flues, keeping them swept by professionals. Do not leave petrol-fuelled lawnmowers or cars running inside a garage. Do not ever bring a BBQ indoors, or into a tent. Ensure your rooms are well ventilated and get yourself a Carbon Monoxide Alarm!

Be aware of the signs! If you and your family, or members in your workplace fall ill with the same symptoms, your pets become ill too, or you feel better when stepping outside or going away from home or the workplace, then it is best to get things checked!

The Safety Centre

Website: Safety Centre Alliance

Contact Number: 01908 263 009