Carbon monoxide detectors can save lives

Carbon-monoxide-awarenessBreathing high levels of carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness and even death. Every year in the U.S., more than 500 people die from exposure to this odorless, colorless toxic gas.

Detection relies on carbon monoxide alarms, which the Senate State Government Committee has voted to require in multiple-unit residential buildings and single-family dwellings (SSB 3017). This requirement, similar to Iowa’s current law for installation of smoke detectors, would takes effect July 1, 2017.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by:

  • Poorly maintained or unvented heating equipment
  • Warming up vehicles in enclosed spaces
  • Using a gas stove or oven
  • Blocked chimneys or heating exhaust vents

 Prevention measures include:

  • Having gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced annually.
  • Installing a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector near all sleeping areas, and replacing the battery twice a year.
  • Seeking prompt medical attention if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.
  • Not using a gasoline or charcoal burning device in an enclosed space.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning’s Impact in Iowa 2010-2014.
    Year # of Deaths # of Hospitalizations # Emergency Department Visits
    2010 13 34 353
    2011 17 35 266
    2012 12 35 223
    2013 10 42 308
    2014 21 24 241
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