Keep Your Employees and Customers Safe with Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The dangers of fire are easy to see and identify, but the basic process behind fire–combustion of flammable material or fuel–poses its own dangers even if flames or smoke are not present. Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous by-product of combustion that can be just as deadly, but harder to detect, than fire and smoke. A carbon monoxide detector is designed to sense the presence of this harmful gas, sounding a loud alarm to notify occupants of the danger. As an adjunct to your existing fire alarms and smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detector will dramatically improve fire safety and protection in your commercial establishment.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is created when combustion occurs, whether that combustion involves open flames or simple smoldering of material. It occurs when flammable items are burned, gasoline or kerosene is consumed to operate a piece of equipment, or fuel such as oil or natural gas is burned in your furnace to produce heat for your facility. Carbon monoxide cannot be detected by human senses.
It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, a poisonous substance made all the more dangerous because it is so hard to detect. Exposure to enough CO will cause death. Many of the deaths attributed to CO occur when individuals are sleeping; they do not realize they are being exposed to the gas and are unable to evacuate the area or get to safety before the gas overcomes them. The harmful effects of carbon monoxide result from the CO interfering with the blood’s ability to pick up and carry vital oxygen throughout the body. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
The effects of CO poisoning become life-threatening after about three hours of exposure to the substance.
The Need for Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Both commercial and residential locations can benefit significantly from the installation of CO detectors. A carbon monoxide detector can sense the presence of CO and provide an alarm to alert customers, employees, and others to the very real but invisible danger in the air around them. Carbon monoxide occurs in other contexts than a building fire. Any piece of equipment that burns fuel for power emits carbon monoxide.
This includes automobiles, motorcycles, snow blowers, chain saws, lawn mowers, space heaters, cooking grills, and any other type of fuel-based vehicle or device. CO can also be produced by your facility’s furnace, boiler, or water heater if it uses fuel oil, propane, or other type of combustible material.
In heating systems, CO is usually safely vented away to the outdoors, but damage or problems within the HVAC equipment or ventilation pipes can allow it to escape indoors. To provide a reliable defense against the dangers of carbon monoxide, you should install several of these devices throughout your business building or commercial facility.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector outside meeting rooms, major office clusters, and other areas where numbers of people are likely to gather at once.
- Put a carbon monoxide detector at each end of the building on each floor.
- Combine CO detectors with fire and smoke alarms for the most extensive protection.
- Test CO detectors at least monthly to ensure they’re still working. Change batteries in these devices at least once a year, although every six months might be a better option.
- If your CO detectors are wired directly into your building’s electrical system, make sure they have a battery back-up in case power goes out in your facility.
- Avoid putting CO detectors near fuel-burning equipment, stoves, furnaces, or related items. Small amounts of CO from these devices could cause a false alarm.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on how a carbon monoxide detector can improve health and safety in your commercial facility, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!