Making an elderly person’s home safe from carbon monoxide poisoning

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We recently blogged about the importance of smoke alarms in the home, especially for the elderly, but there is another type of alarm we should also have in place – a carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas.

There are many items in the home that can put us at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if not monitored properly. These include generators, gas boilers and water heaters and gas stoves/ranges and wood burners.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and deadly poisonous gas, so it can be extremely difficult to detect if you don’t have an alarm. While it is not always fatal if detected early, it can affect people’s health on a long-term basis.

To ensure your elderly loved-one’s home is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning we would recommend having an alarm installed in every room with a fuel burning appliance. It should be regularly tested and the batteries regularly checked.

Alarms should be purchased to the British Safety Standard EN 50291.

If your elderly loved-one has a chimney with a gas or fuel appliance, the chimney should be swept regularly to ensure there are no blockages. A blockage will stop carbon monoxide escaping out of the chimney and it will instead fill up the room.

Gas and boiler appliances should always be serviced regularly and cookers/grills should be cleaned regularly to stop the build-up of food deposits potentially starving the flames of oxygen and releasing CO.

If your elderly parent/loved-one begins to experience dizziness, headaches, nausea or breathlessness it is important to check all alarms and if CO is present, evacuate the property immediately.