CO Facts And Advice

The following article has some great advice about carbon monoxide and some facts everyone should know. This is aimed at student but I think it is an article everyone can benefit from. You can learn more about carbon monoxide from our page.

What is Carbon Monoxide and how dangerous is it? As part of The National Student’s Advice Week, npower brings you the facts.

What is Carbon Monoxide – and what are its dangers?

1. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas – it can be very dangerous to your health and can be fatal. It is sometimes referred to as the silent killer because it has no smell, taste or colour, which makes it difficult to detect.

2. CO is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal or wood do not burn fully.

3. When you breath in CO, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with haemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body), to form carboxyhaemoglobin. This stops your blood from being able to carry oxygen which causes the body’s cells and tissue to die.

4.Every year in the UK around 200 people are admitted to hospital with suspected CO poisoning, leading to around 40 deaths.

5. Around 10-15% of people who suffer from severe or life-threatening CO poisoning develop long-term complications, such as damage to the brain or the heart.

How do you know if you’re suffering from Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

6. Initial symptoms of CO poisoning can be similar to flu, but without a fever and sometimes, can be confused with food poisoning.

7. The most common symptoms include: dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.

What causes Carbon Monoxide to leak?

8. The most common causes are incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated household appliances like fires (if the chimney or flue is blocked), cookers, heaters and central heating boilers.

Who is most at risk?

9. ‘High risk’ groups include the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems or chronic heart disease.

10. It is now a legal requirement for private landlords to fit a CO alarm in rooms used as living accommodation which also contain an appliance that burns, or is capable of burning solid fuel. Although there is no requirement to fit one near a gas boiler, it is still advisable as best practice.

How can you protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the home?

11. Install a Carbon Monoxide alarm near appliances that are capable of producing CO.

12. Look out for other tell-tale signs like:

13. Black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires, or sooty marks on the walls near boilers, stoves or fires

14. Smoke building up in rooms because of a faulty flue or blocked chimney

15. Gas appliances producing yellow flames instead of blue ones

16. Ensure all appliances are installed and regularly serviced by registered engineers.

17. If you have a chimney, make sure it is swept regularly by a qualified sweep.

Read more at the original article here.

These are all great facts about carbon monoxide and contain some great tips that we should all be on the look out for. The obvious thing to do is install a carbon monoxide alarm and make sure our fuel burning appliances are properly serviced yearly by a professional.

Of course, even without a carbon monoxide detector, some people can get lucky by speaking to the right person, see below.

NHS call handler saved my life after I was poisoned by carbon monoxide
An actress has told how how a quick-thinking NHS call handler saved her life after alerting emergency services to a carbon monoxide leak in her home.

Jaynie Powsney, 29, called the NHS 111 line after experiencing dizzy spells, headaches, diarrhoea and a stomach ache for around a month.

And after suspecting her symptoms were due to the poisonous gas, dubbed the ‘silent killer’, the call handler dispatched an ambulance, fire crews, the National Grid and environmental protection to her home off Argyle Street, Heywood .

Jaynie said: “A fire engine arrived and we were told there were three more on the way.

“It was frightening. I felt silly at the time because I thought it was a tummy bug.

“The paramedics were certain it was carbon monoxide poisoning.

“They wanted to take me to hospital, but because we’d had the windows open some of the carbon monoxide in my system had passed.

Further reading where first published.

This person had a very lucky escape and luckily the call handler recognised some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning but some people do not get so lucky. Further news stories at this carbon monoxide news feed.

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Estate agent recommends installing the warning devices as the safety of tenants should be ‘utmost priority’

The following article is about having carbon monoxide devices installed in rented properties. It has been the law since the beginning of October 2015 to have an alarm fitted in a rented property by the landlord if it contains a solid fuel burning appliance. There is a belief that a room sealed boiler gas boiler cannot cause harm by carbon monoxide poisoning but this is false. Even room sealed boilers can leak carbon monoxide if there is a fault. Read the following carbon monoxide articles to find out more.

Estate agent recommends installing the warning devices as the safety of tenants should be ‘utmost priority’

Dawn says if you have a gas boiler, as well as having it regularly checked, you should fit a carbon monoxide alarm

I want to raise awareness of the need for landlords to fit carbon monoxide alarms in their properties if they have a gas boiler or appliances fitted. Private sector landlords have been required by law since October 1, 2015, to have an alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance – that could be a coal fire or a wood burning stove.

Given most apartments in Canary Wharf with gas do not have such appliances, the need for the CO sensors has not been seen as a must, rather as a personal choice.

While some of my more cautious and responsible landlords have fitted them as standard, others have chosen to save their pennies, given it’s not a requirement.

However, following a recent incident I would urge any landlord that has gas and does not have one to have one fitted to do so as soon as possible.

Responding to an emergency call-out late one evening my contractor attended one of my managed properties that had a CO alarm fitted as it had gone off.

On arrival there was a strong smell of gas and it was apparent the boiler was leaking.

The contractor shut this down immediately and refused to turn it back on. The landlord was notified and a new boiler was fitted the next day.

The point of sharing this story with you is there were no solid fuel burner at this property so, had there been no CO alarm, the results could have been tragic.

Being a landlord brings with it a huge responsibility and the safety of your tenants has to be the utmost priority.

Source of article and further reading here.


An interested article that should give a wake up call to landlords to always install a carbon monoxide detector. However, as we can see from the news story below, just having an alarm isn’t always enough. They also should be checked on a regular basis. The article below is one of a tragedy that could have been avoided.

The young girl hospitalized last week from carbon monoxide exposure in her home, which had killed her brother, is recovering and responding to treatment, according to the girl’s mother who spoke at a vigil held for her son Saturday evening.
Crowd gathers at vigil for third-grader killed by carbon monoxide fumes At St. Mark’s Park on Essex Avenue, in Linden, on Saturday, May 7, 2016, roughly 250 people gathered at a vigil for Oshiobugie Asekomhe, the 9-year-old boy who was killed by carbon monoxide exposure in his home earlier in the week. (Spencer Kent |…

At St. Mark’s Park on Essex Avenue, roughly 250 people gathered at the vigil for Oshiobugie Asekomhe, the 9-year-old boy who was killed from carbon monoxide exposure in his home on Tuesday.

His mother, Sepiatu Abu, 45, said her daughter, 11-year-old Emike Asekomhe, was still in the hospital, but was responding to treatment.

Abu, who was with her two sisters, arrived toward the end of the vigil, and with tears running down her face, she thanked everyone for their support.

“Right now my daughter is doing very good … compared to when the incident happened, said Sepiatu Abu, 45, of Linden. “She’s doing much better.”

She added, “She’s responding good to treatment.”

During the vigil, the crowd stood in a semi-circle on the basketball court at the park, and while holding lit candles, they prayed, and then collectively sang Amazing Grace.

The crowd included local officials, including the mayor, along with police officers, firefighters, school officials, members of the community, and some of Oshiobugie’s teachers and classmates at School No. 4, where teachers said he excelled.

People were crying, hugging, and trying to reconcile the shock of losing such a beloved boy in the community.

Linden will hold a vigil Saturday for the 9-year-old youth who died from carbon monoxide in his home Tuesday

“So happy to see everybody out here to support us. I really appreciate each and every one of them. Because my son, Oshiobugie, really was a good kid. He was a very loving child, intelligent, easy going, and I pray God keeps him in a better place.”

At around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Abu called police and said her children were unresponsive, police said in a previous report. Abu, according to officials, had tried CPR on both children. Oshiobugie was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

High levels of carbon monoxide were found in the home. Though there was a CO detector, the batteries were no longer functional, the report said. The house is uninhabitable, according to the report.

Read more by viewing the original article here.

A very sad story and one that is difficult to read. Our thoughts go out to the mother and family of the children involved and we hope that with more education, these stories become a thing of the past. Visit the CO gas resource page for further help.

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Alarms rescue families

Further carbon monoxide alerts occured in the Devon and Cornwall area of the country. Our first story happened near the town of Helston in Cornwall where a carbon monoxide alarm potentially saved the lives of a family. This should be a wake up call to use all to have any kind of CO monitor, learn more about them here.

A FAMILY gassed last night by deadly fumes said they might have died without their carbon monoxide alarms.

They said smoke and gas from a coal-fired kitchen range had seeped unto their 6-year-old daughter’s bedroom and was filling the house.
Her dad Gavin Potter said: “We would all be dead in the morning if it wasn’t for the alarms.

“I might have gone in the morning and found my youngest dead – or none of us would have woken up at all.

“It’s a frightening thought – but that’s what we’ve been thinking all morning.

“I am over the moon that we’re all okay.”

The family with four children aged between 6 and 16 went to bed last night at their mid-terrace cottage in Farms Common, a hamlet in Wendron parish near Helston.

Read more at the original source
Around the same time in Devon a carbon monoxide detector was activated, once again potentially saving the life of the elderly resident, read the story –
Elderly woman rescued after carbon monoxide leak in Devon

Firefighters had to rescue an elderly woman from a property in Devon after a carbon monoxide alarm activated late on Monday night.

Just before 11pm crews were sent to Sparkwell Lane, Staverton.

Two fire appliance from Buckfastleigh and Ashburton were sent to a report of a domestic alarm activating in a property.

Upon arrival crews confirmed it was a carbon monoxide alarm and they removed an elderly woman from the building.

First published at this source
Both households luckily had installed a carbon monoxide alarm which alerted them to the presence of the gas. Without one installed, these reports could have been ones of tragedy than rescue.

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The Silent Killer

On Tuesday the funeral will be held of a man who died from CO poisoning. This deadly gas can strike at any time causing many health problems and as you can see from the article below, unfortunate deaths.

THE funeral will take place on Tuesday of a man who died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at his home in Co Down.

Grandfather-of-two William Stockdale (60) was found dead at his house on the Castlewellan Road in Newcastle on Friday evening.

A post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death has been carried out, but the results are not yet known.

The death comes just over a year since a married couple in their seventies, Francis and Nan O’Reilly, were found dead in their caravan on the Tullybrannigan Road in Newcastle.

Mr Stockdale, who came from a farming background, was a long-term resident of Newcastle.

Four ambulance crews attended the scene on Friday night, with three other people in the property and two paramedics also treated in the Ulster Hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. They were later discharged.

It is understood Mr Stockdale had been recovering at home after having stents inserted in his heart, and had initially believed the chest pain and discomfort he was experiencing was due to the operation.

John McPoland, from the Ambulance Service, described the actions of paramedics at Mr Stockdale’s home as “unbelievable”.

He said: “They undoubtedly saved the lives of themselves and three other people. More remarkable than all that, after they were discharged from hospital they reported back to the station to fulfil the rest of their duties.”

Read more of this news article from the original publication.

These reports are a regular occurance throughout this country with many more around the world. Carbon monoxide needs to be understood be everyone, so let us learn more about this silent killer.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas with nearly the same molar mass as air (CO is 3% lighter on average). This means that CO doesn’t rise or fall, but disperses evenly into the air of an enclosed space. That’s why detectors can be placed low on a wall at an outlet, or high up on a ceiling. The gas is toxic to humans at concentrations above 35 Parts Per Millions (PPM). Because of this, carbon monoxide has been dubbed the silent killer. We’ve all heard not to use a kitchen stove as a heating appliance, or not to run a generator inside the house. The reason is carbon monoxide.

The American Center for Disease Control has stated that unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for over 20,000 emergency room visits each year, including over 400 deaths. Carbon monoxide poisoning starts with a headache. It progresses to dizziness, nausea, and general flu-like symptoms. Most people think they’re just coming down with the flu, and head to bed. This is often a fatal mistake.
Carboxyhemoglobin molecule, by Rifleman 82 via Wikipedia
Carboxyhemoglobin molecule, by Rifleman 82 via Wikipedia

Carbon monoxide can always be found in small amounts in the human body. The molecule is known to have some therapeutic anti-inflammatory effects in humans. At higher concentrations though, CO becomes incredibly toxic. The most frightening part about carbon monoxide poisoning is the method in which it operates. Hemoglobin is the molecule in red blood cells which carries oxygen. Hemoglobin loads up with oxygen in the lungs, becoming oxyhemoglobin. The circulatory system then carries this oxyhemoglobin throughout the body, where it delivers its payload to muscles and organs. Carbon monoxide also bonds to hemoglobin, creating carboxyhemoglobin. In fact, the bond is over 200 times stronger than oxygen. This means carboxyhemoglobin doesn’t separate so easily. The carboxyhemoglobin essentially becomes an inert molecule riding through the circulatory system, starving the organs of oxygen.

This is where things get nasty.

Everyone knows that the treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is to get to fresh air. However, it won’t immediately remove carboxyhemoglobin from the blood. That takes time. Carboxyhemoglobin has a half-life of 4 to 6 hours. There is a way to speed things up though. Administering pure oxygen to a victim can reduce the half-life down to less than an hour.

In extreme cases, hyperbaric oxygen treatments are used. The victim is placed into a pure oxygen chamber pressurized to three atmospheres. This forces oxygen to diffuse into the blood plasma, where it is carried to starved tissues.
Structure of a neuron, by Quasar Jarosz via Wikipedia

For acute poisoning patients, surviving the initial episode doesn’t mean the worst is over. Many patients begin to make a recovery, but between 2 and 40 days later, things change. The patients rapidly show signs of further brain damage. Balance, memory, and cognitive functions all affected. This phenomenon is called delayed neuropsychologic sequelae, and it was devastating for Molly Weber. The mechanism of neuropsychologic sequelae is still not completely understood. Research has shown that carbon monoxide damages Myelin Basic Protein (MBP), the material which surrounds nerve cells. The damaged MBP triggers the body’s immune system. White blood cells called leukocytes attack and remove the damaged MBP. The leukocytes don’t stop there though. They begin to attack healthy MBP, destroying healthy brain tissue. The result of this biological one-two punch leaves permanent brain injuries that can take years to recover – if recovery is possible at all.

In researching this article I was reminded how little we know about the brain, how it can be injured and how it recovers from those injuries. If there is one place where bio-hackers can really make a huge difference, it’s in studying and trying to understand how all this works.

Carbon monoxide is created by several different methods. Volcanoes and other geological sources release carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, as do forest fires. The major contributor though is man. Satellites such as NASA’s Terra spacecraft keep an eye on carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Streaks are often found over cities and where crop residue and forests are being burned.

The chief way CO is created is through incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels. If there isn’t enough oxygen present to oxidize a fuel to CO2, CO is the result. Internal combustion engines produce huge amounts of carbon monoxide. A properly tuned gasoline engine can produce as much as 30,000 ppm CO. In the United States, gasoline and diesel vehicles produced after 1975 have catalytic converters which greatly reduce CO emissions. However, not all vehicles are well maintained. Every year deaths are reported from people sitting in idling cars with faulty exhaust systems.

Small engines such as generators and power washers don’t tend to have catalytic converters, yet they still produce large amounts of carbon monoxide. Generators running inside homes kill families every year. Even running a power washer in a semi-enclosed space such as a parking garage is enough for the gas to build up to dangerous levels.

In the home, most carbon monoxide poisoning events happen due to problems with gas-fired appliances. A properly tuned water heater, boiler, or furnace will create some CO. If the air band isn’t correctly adjusted, CO levels rise. If the exhaust becomes blocked or compromised, the CO will find its way into the living spaces. Just in the last week, a home in Oklahoma filled with CO when roofers blocked the water heater exhaust stack. Thankfully, the family had a carbon monoxide detector in their home, and nobody was injured.

Read more from the original source
Carbon monoxide injuries and deaths can be avoided with a carbon monoxide alarm fitted into the home or work areas. They will alert before the gas levels become too dangerous and while deaths and injuries continue to occur, we must all continue to spread the word about what it can do. Knowledge is the key and with knowledge, everyone is more likely to get some kind of alerting device. You can learn more about carbon monoxide here.

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The Dangers Lie Everywhere

Another carbon monoxide scare happened a couple of days ago. Most reported occurances are from individuals in
residential situations, however in this instance it was a London office and its workers that were effected.

Five business people were taken to hospital after a carbon monoxide leak sparked the evacuation of a luxury Mayfair office block.

Hedge fund managers, art experts and property developers were all evacuated from the Grade II listed office at 9 Clifford Street at around 5pm yesterday after investigators found high levels of the dangerous gas emanating from a faulty boiler.

Ten people fled a basement conference room after reporting the smell before firefighters ordered a further 50 people to leave the £38million office block on the upmarket street just off Savile Row.

Other workers on the street were instructed by the Fire Brigade to stay inside their buildings or escape from any rear facing exits during the commotion.

Read more from the original article

All 5 people were evacuted without any problems, although getting treated for possible CO poisoning is important. It does not matter if you think you are alright, getting a medical check as a precaution will still be necessary.

Treating carbon monoxide poisoning

You will need oxygen therapy treatment in hospital if you have been exposed to a high level of carbon monoxide, or have symptoms that suggest exposure.

Oxygen therapy involves breathing in 100% oxygen through a tight-fitting mask (normal air contains about 21% oxygen). Breathing in concentrated oxygen enables your body to quickly replace carboxyhaemoglobin.

Read more about this from the source article

Carbon Monoxide is impossible to detect without some kind of device that monitors levels in the air. Having a carbon monoxide alarm is the best way to warn of potential problems, find out more about alarms. The following article describes why the gas is so dangerous and how it is produced.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. According to the HSE statistics every year around 7 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO. Increasing public understanding of the risks of CO poisoning and taking sensible precautions could dramatically reduce this risk.

There are signs that you can look out for which indicate incomplete combustion is occurring and may result in the production of CO:

yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except fuel effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
pilot lights that frequently blow out
increased condensation inside windows

Continue reading this here

You have to be alert and aware of potential carbon monoxide poisoning in all situations, not just in your living environment. Whether you are at work or on holiday, anywhere where this is a fuel burning appliance there is a potential issue with carbon monoxide gas. Be alert, be aware.


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Admitted To Hospital For CO Poisoning

Most of us understand the dangers that carbon monoxide can bring yet there are still instances of carbon monoxide poisoning reported in the news.

Most of these news reports are, unfortunately of tragedies that have occured but it must be noted that there are a numerous more instances of CO poisoning that do not result in death and which do not get reported in mainstream media.


Many sufferers are treated in time and there are a few instances recently that end on a happy note.

A mother and her four-year-old son needed hospital treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning this afternoon.

Firefighters were called to a home off the Crescent, near Marlow Road, in Maidenhead at about 2pm after the carbon monoxide alarm had started sounding and the pair had begun to feel unwell.

A crew from Maidenhead evacuated the property and gave them oxygen, before paramedics arrived with a breath analyser and took them to hospital.

They have apparently both now returned home.

A carbon monoxide monitor was also sent out from Reading, which recorded carbon monoxide levels of between 40 and 80 parts per million in the house. Any level above zero is considered unsafe.

The National Grid was contacted to isolate the gas supply from the house, which was then ventilated.

To read the full new article, click here

This mother and son, fortunately, had a lucky escape and are happily back home. The correct procedures have been carried out and with the property safe, they returned home. A carbon monoxide detector will have been installed and this should prevent this family going through such worry again. You can find out more about CO symptoms here.

In the U.S recently there was another report of 3 people being admitted to hospital:

Three people from a residential high-rise downtown were taken to a hospital late Monday night as fire crews determined the building had a carbon monoxide leak.

The 15-story building in the 500 block of North Akard Street had to be evacuated late Monday night after residents smelled an “unknown odor.” Carbon monoxide is odorless, but there may have been other fumes in the building.

The exact location of the leak was not found, but hazardous materials crews believe it had something to do with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the building, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said.

Three people suffering from breathing problems were taken to a hospital. The most common symptoms from carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

Read the full article from the source here

Again, a lucky escape but these, happy outcomes can also, quickly turn to tragic outcomes which is why any kind of
monitor is required in every property that has or is in the viscinity of any fuel burning appliance.

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Video About Poisoning

This is a video about carbon monoxide poisoning and how it effects you. It is good to know how you are effected, how you may feel and what symptoms to look out for.

If you are aware of the effects that exposure to co gas brings then you can react early to do something about it and potentially save lives.

Watch the video and get to know what to look for.


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