From the 1st of May to the 7th of May it is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. And through out this week many local businesses, schools and organizations including ourselves have teamed up with the Chase and Tyler Foundation to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning across Australia and to advise on preventative measures that people can take to reduce the risk.
The Chase & Tyler Foundation are a non for profit, national group who are doing all that they can to reduce the numbers of death, injuries and illness caused by carbon monoxide in Australia every year. Chase & Tyler at the ages of 8 and 6, died from carbon monoxide poisoning from their unserviced gas heater in their rental home in 2010. Since then the Chase & Tyler Foundation have worked extremely hard to eliminate accidental carbon monoxide poisoning throughout Australia by increased awareness, preventative measures, regulation, training and research. Their vision is for zero deaths or injury from accidental Carbon Monoxide poisoning in Australia, and they do in everything in their power to create the kind of awareness to insure this for our futures.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. It cannot be seen, felt, smelt or touch hence its name ‘The Silent Killer’. It is something that can effect both animals and people and those most susceptible to its effects are usually pregnant women, unborn babies, children, the elderly and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems. Carbon monoxide can be produced by any appliances that use gas, oil, kerosene, or wood. So as you can see most of us are at risk on a daily basis.
Preventative measures is the best way to keep your families safe this winter and here are some ways to go about it:
– Service all fuel-burning appliances regularly as per the manufacturer’s recommendation or at a minimum of once every two years as recommended by Energy Safe Victoria & the Victorian Building Authority.
– Sweep and inspect chimneys and flues.
– Ensure there is adequate ventilation in the room you are using such appliances
– Call a certified professional to inspect, clean, and tune up the central heating system and make any necessary repairs.
– Have a qualified gasfitter install a high standard audible carbon monoxide alarm outside sleeping and living areas.
– Dont bring an outdoor fuel-burning appliance inside your home/tent or caravan.
– Dont leave your car’s engine running idle in an enclosed space such as your garage.
There are symptoms to be aware of within the home that can alert you of carbon monoxide poisoning such as dizziness, fatigue, head aches, nausea, breathlessness, chest or stomach pain, loss of consciousness, visual disturbances and erratic behavior. Depending on ones age, health and the duration of the exposures the effects of carbon monoxide can vary considerably. It can vary from difficultly breathing, impaired judgment and memory, damage to the nervous system to cardiac trauma, brain damage, coma or even death as we have sadly seen with young Chase and Tyler.
Generally the effects of carbon monoxide are reversible but there have been instances were significant overexposure have lead to permanent damage effecting the nervous system.
Please feel free to contact Carbon Monoxide Testing Australia on 1300 599 529 to have your house or office tested for this silent killer or for any questions you may have regarding carbon monoxide poisoning.