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.

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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.

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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

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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.