Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas (U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Some of the ways CO gas can be present in your home or any shelter or enclosed space is from camp stoves, and propane or natural gas-fueled ranges, kerosene heaters, gas hot water heaters, charcoal/propane grills, and wood stoves used for heating.
The “Do You Really Need That to Survive” articles do not just focus on gear and equipment that is taking up space and may not be needed or simply do not live up to the claims. We here, also want to point out that there are certain pieces of gear and equipment or devices that can literally be a lifesaver. A CO alarm may be just one of those products that could save your life during normal times and during a crisis as well.
When the power goes out people crank up the generators, pull the cover off the propane and charcoal grills and dust off alternative heating devices. Sometimes people are not thinking clearly during an emergency, and thus, may pull a propane or charcoal grill into the garage to get it out of the rain or snow or drag one under the carport next to the side door to the house.
A CO detector will let you know immediately that you have made a serious mistake, one that can be rectified, rectified only if you have enough warning that would only come from a CO alarm because the deadly gas is odorless and colorless so it cannot be seen.
Generators running close to a window or doorway can cause your home or shelter to fill up with the deadly gas. People have died because they had operated their generators in crawlspaces, in basements and inside of garages and even when running one under a window that may be opened slightly for ventilation.
CO alarms that are battery operated can be used anywhere, to include inside of tents and other makeshift shelters, where propane or even wood/charcoal burning devices are operating.
Frankly, it would be hard to make the case for not having one regardless of who you might be and what you may be doing during a crisis. You can even bring one to a relatives or friends home if you had to evacuate. They may not have one and yet have devices capable of emitting the deadly gas.
Look for These Signs
- Shortness of breath
High-Level CO Poisoning Results in Progressively More Severe Symptoms, Including:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death (U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission)
U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/