Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Although it is a by product of normal animal metabolism it is dangerous at high concentration levels. Carbon Monoxide is also generated by fossil fuel burning appliances like stoves, heaters and generators and its these appliances which we need to be careful of.
Even though there are rigorous code and regulations governing these appliances and their flue’s, it only takes a little human error or short sightedness or maybe a change in the weather to transform these appliances into deadly machines.
Recently, residents at a Grand Island, NY nursing home were evacuated from parts of their building after high levels of carbon monoxide were detected in the basement. According to Buffalo News, firefighters detected dangerous carbon monoxide levels of 350 to 400 parts per million in the basement near a boiler which provides hot water and heat to the two story building.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that carbon monoxide is the leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the U.S every year. The gas is responsible for about 15,000 emergency room visits and 500 deaths.
The boiler at the Grand Island care facility was found to have a blocked exhaust flue. Blocked by snow. An unforeseen result of the days heavy snow fall.
Luckily, no one was injured or needed further aid at the nursing home and the high levels of carbon monoxide were confined to the basement. The snow blocking the exhaust of the poisonous gas was removed and fans were employed to help dissipate the room.
Early warning is vital when dealing with carbon monoxide and the immediate shut-off of the supply of the poisonous gas is advantageous. American Gas Safety’s GSP range of gas safety panels, when combined with the digital CO detectors will immediately sound an alarm, shut-off the incoming gas supply to appliances via a solenoid valve and even alert the buildings BMS or existing fire alarm system.
Most Carbon Monoxide poisonings happen in winter, as people are more likely to stay in confined spaces for longer periods of time and close ventilation with the intention of stopping drafts. Most states have laws and legislation to help with detection and prevention of CO poisoning but its always worth checking with your care facilities to see if their standard of detection and alarm is up to date and sufficient to protect your loved ones whilst they sleep. It only takes a question on your next visit and it could save the lives of your loved ones and others who resided at the facilities.
For more information on the life saving abilities of the Merlin GSP range of safety panels and the other products available from American Gas Safety please check out the website or give the office a call on (727) 608-4375