Did you know carbon monoxide (CO) is the number one cause of fatal poisonings in North America? Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of CO can lead to death in a matter of minutes.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas formed by the incomplete combustion of fuels. When people are exposed to CO gas, the CO molecules will displace the oxygen in their bodies and lead to poisoning.
As CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, it makes it almost impossible to detect. CO poisoning symptoms can be unclear; however, immediate diagnosis is critical.
Low Concentrations: Shortness of breath, slight headache, nausea and dizziness.
Higher Concentrations: Severe headache, mental confusion, dizziness, vision and hearing impairments and sudden collapse or fainting on exertion.
Extreme Concentrations: Unconsciousness, coma and death.
The most effective way to prevent CO poisoning from occurring is to have a detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. It is important to place the CO detector in an area that hazards may be present – near your furnace, in your garage, in your kitchen and outside bedrooms or sleeping areas.
Call 911 immediately if anyone is showing signs of symptoms of CO poisoning. CO is a harmful and toxic gas that must be managed with extreme caution. It is important to educate yourself on carbon monoxide sources, symptoms, precautions and how to respond in the event of an emergency.
The Insurance Market recognizes the fatal risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is crucial to have knowledge of the related threats this gas can place on you and your family and to take the necessary precautions to prevent fatalities from occurring.
For more information about carbon monoxide, read this article by Canada Safety Council.