Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless and Forensics Detectors gas that can poison people and animals. It is produced when fuels are burned. CO fumes from furnaces, stoves, lanterns, campers, charcoal grills and vehicle exhaust can build up in closed or partially enclosed spaces, poisoning the people and pets inside. Many accidental CO exposures occur in the home and result in severe cardiovascular and neurobehavioral effects, as well as death. A CO detector can save lives by detecting potentially fatal concentrations of the gas and triggering an alarm.
Choosing the Right CO Detector: A Guide to Protecting Your Family from Carbon Monoxide
CO detectors look similar to smoke detectors, with a small detection chamber and silicon microchip that detects the presence of the dangerous gas. They can be plug-in units that go into any wall outlet, or battery-operated. If the unit is plug-in, make sure it has a battery backup to protect against long power outages. Many CO detectors also have a test button and a battery indicator light. Some models have LCD screens that display system status, including the level of CO detected.
Some detectors use a biomimetic sensor that reproduces the effects of CO on hemoglobin and triggers an alarm when the hemoglobin changes color. Other detectors, such as portable CO detector cards, have a disc that turns dark if the air is contaminated with CO. If the alarm goes off, get everyone outside and call 911. Do not ignore the alarm, even if you suspect it’s caused by an on-again, off-again problem.