Carbon monoxide can occur anywhere fuel is burned – not just in the home. That’s the message being promoted by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) for Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, warning consumers that the highly poisonous gas is produced anywhere fossil fuel is burned; be it in the home, camping, boating etc.
NSAI encourages consumers to have a carbon monoxide alarm in their home as, on average, carbon monoxide kills six people in Ireland each year. “Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas and is often called the silent killer, as it has no smell, colour or taste and at high levels can kill in as little as three minutes,” said Yvonne Wylde, Technical Standards Manager, NSAI.
It is important that everyone is aware of the dangers and takes precautions. There are thousands of carbon monoxide alarms for sale in Ireland but, the NSAI warns, some do not comply with standards, so make sure you look for three quality marks; EN 50291 the CE Mark and the end-of-life indicator. These symbols indicate the alarm has been tested and certified to the highest quality standards.
“For as little as €20, carbon monoxide deaths could be prevented with the purchase of an audible carbon monoxide alarm. However, carbon monoxide alarms are no substitute for having your appliances, be it gas, oil, wood or fossil fuel, properly installed and regularly serviced by a qualified service agent. It is also vital your home or business has the appropriate ventilation,” said NSAI CEO, Maurice Buckley.
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, the NSAI recommends that you stop using any appliances that burn fuel, ventilate the area and visit your medical practitioner immediately. You should also arrange for an inspection of your fuel-burning appliances by a registered gas installer, oil technician or qualified service agent, and install a carbon monoxide alarm.
NSAI’s top tips on how to protect yourself from carbon monoxide
1. Be aware – any appliance burning any type of fuel can produce carbon monoxide.
2. Ensure fuel burning appliances are properly installed and regularly maintained.
3. Use fuel burning appliances correctly and for their intended purpose.
4. Keep vents, flues and chimneys clear at all times.
5. Have at least one audible carbon monoxide alarm installed in your home. Don’t forget to check your alarm regularly, by pressing the ‘test’ button.