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Carbon Monoxide: How Bad Is It And How Can We Prevent It?

According to statistics supplied by United States municipal fire departments, over 70,000 carbon monoxide related incidents happen each year. This is a trend that is continuously on the rise and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. States are attempting to combat the issue by passing more stringent laws about installing carbon monoxide detectors, but will this be enough to stem the tide?

Schools and restaurants are common places where carbon monoxide poisoning is experienced. While carbon monoxide detection is not yet required in specific areas, industry trends seem to suggest that these lax regulations will soon be a thing of the past.

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous, because it bonds to a person's hemoglobin and significantly decreases the body's capacity for oxygen carrying. If fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas are not burned completely, carbon monoxide is the colorless, odorless gas that is left behind, which is why it is known as the silent killer.

The main causes for carbon monoxide poisoning in commercial buildings are improper installation of boilers/furnaces/heaters, vehicle exhaust and gas power tools.

In order to put a stop to these unnecessary deaths, the best way to reduce CO poisoning is to install detectors and alarms. Laws have been put in place to ensure that all newly built apartment buildings, hotels, dormitories, hospitals, one family dwellings and two family dwellings have the proper alarms and detectors in place.

There are two different standards for these alarms. The first standard (ANSI/UL 2034) does not require the "alarms" to be connected to control units, while the second standard (ANSI/UL 2075) covers "detectors" that are connected to control units. However, both are designed to alert those who are present to the presence of carbon monoxide.

Options abound for facility owners. Single devices that keep the building protected from both CO and fire are recommended for those who wish to save on costs and materials. Silent Knight’s SK-Fire-CO is a great choice for facilities who wish to report instances of fire and CO poisoning separately.

With carbon monoxide incidents on the rise, these systems provide a plethora of benefits, including increased preparedness. Education is the key to avoiding difficult scenarios. Another key aspect of alarm and detector installation is learning more about what to do should an emergency arise, including alerting occupants and contacting the proper authorities.

Fire alarm systems, business security system and carbon monoxide alarms/detectors all hold the same level of importance. While carbon monoxide fatalities are on the rise, placing detectors and alarms in the proper areas, setting up a viable alert system for occupants should carbon monoxide be detected and taking the appropriate actions when required allow a business or public building to prevent any further tragedies from taking place in the future.