Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and deadly. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, "carbon monoxide gas is a leading cause of death in the United States." Even in non-fatal cases, it can "cause permanent damage to the nervous system." Knowing how many carbon monoxide detectors a home needs and where is the best place to locate them can save lives.
Location of Detector
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that a carbon monoxide detector be installed outside bedrooms. If the home has separate sleeping areas, a detector should be placed in each area. First Alert recommends that one carbon monoxide detector should be installed on each level of the house. The Minnesota Department of Health suggests that for split-bedroom arrangements, the detector should be placed in a common area where everyone can hear the alarm.
Many of the detectors are able to be plugged into an electrical outlet. The reason being that, since carbon monoxide is a heavy gas, the detector should be placed below bed height where it will detect the gas before anyone is harmed by it.
Household chemicals should be stored at least 5 feet away from the detectors to prevent damage to the alarm. Additionally, locate the detector away from fuel-burning appliances, gas and wood-burning stoves or automobile engines to prevent the alarm from being accidentally triggered.
Symptoms and Treatment
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include, "aches, dizziness, headache, confusion, and other symptoms also found with flu and typical cold-weather viruses. Consider carbon monoxide poisoning when these symptoms occur in the winter, in enclosed spaces, and in multiple people at the same time."
Should carbon monoxide poisoning be possible, get the victim-and everyone else in the house-fresh air immediately. If you are unable to go outside, open all the window and doors. Turn off all combustible appliances. Take the victim to the emergency room immediately.