As we head into cold days and nights and think about the comfort of heating, this week is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. Time to check that appliances you are using at home are well maintained and operating safely.
For those travelling, donít be tempted to use any unflued heating in your caravan or camper, nor ideas bandied around like an upturned flowerpot over a gas burner.
In addition to having your indoor solid fuel or gas heater serviced, use a Carbon Monoxide alarm as an added defence. This is not a substitute unserviced heaters, or an excuse for using an outdoor form of heating indoors.
Awareness week, to be held from 1st to 7th May 2017.
The aim of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning across Australia, and to advise on preventative measures that people can take to reduce the risk.
TheChase and Tyler Foundation raises awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning in Australia.
Some common products that can emit carbon monoxide when you use them are:
∑ Barbeques that use wood, charcoal or gas
∑ Fireplaces that use wood, charcoal or gas
∑ Portable cookers that use gas or kerosene
∑ Portable and/or outdoor heaters that use gas or kerosene
∑ Flued gas heaters (under certain conditions)
∑ Electrical generators that are diesel or petrol powered
∑ Electrical equipment that is diesel or petrol powered (such as pumps, chainsaws, blowers and welders).
∑ Never use the above listed products inside the house or in areas that are not well ventilated, such as enclosed patios, garages and sheds, greenhouses, tents and caravans.
∑ If you have an indoor fuel heater, consider having it checked by a licensed professional at the start of winter to ensure it is not producing excess carbon monoxide.
∑ If you have a fireplace, ensure that the chimney has no blockages before you start using it.
∑ Similarly, if you have a wood heater ensure the exhaust vent pipe is free of blockages.
∑ If you are camping and need to use portable cookers, heaters and barbeques in a covered area (for example, if itís raining), make sure that the area is well ventilated.
∑ In an emergency situation or power blackout
where you need to use items such as electrical generators and portable heaters, ensure that the area they are being used in is well
From Product Safety
At higher levels, carbon monoxide can kill within minutes. Even if you get fresh air in time to save your life, carbon monoxide can cause strokes, heart attacks, memory loss and personality changes. This brain damage is permanent.
Carbon monoxide binds to haemoglobin in our blood in place of the needed oxygen, and does so in preference to the oxygen in the air. This causes blood vessels of the body to leak, especially in the brain causing the brain to swell, leading to unconsciousness and neurological damage.
Source Carbon Monoxide Kills
Despite the warnings, people die every year throughout the world due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Disability suffered by carbon monoxide poisoning survivors is rarely reported.
April 2017: News of another tragic death has emerged as his widow takes legal action against the taxi company. 30 year old Sandeep Singh Brar was driving his cab when he pulled over in Mont Albert in Melbourneís north to take a "power nap" with the engine running to keep warm on September 2, 2013. The following day another driver was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes when driving the same cab.
February 2017: A shocking and tragic loss of young lives. German investigators say six teenagers who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a garden house in Bavaria had been using a gasoline-powered generator that wasn't authorized for indoor use. The owner of the garden found the bodies of his son, daughter and four other young men on Sunday morning. All were aged 18 or 19.
August 2016: Saved in time when Carbon monoxide poisoning left one woman unconscious and caused the temporary evacuation of adjoining Coles and Kmart stores in Wangaratta.
For camping off mains power in really cold weather, either a diesel heater (Webasto, Dometic or Eberspacher or cheaper copies), or installed gas heater (Truma) are the best options for heating your caravan.
You can get 12 volt electric blankets or use a 240 volt one off your inverter to warm the bed, or pull on Explorer or other thick woollen socks, and use a zero rated sleeping bag to keep the warmth you generate close around you.
1st May 2017