Carbon monoxide, or CO, is one of the most dangerous gases you can encounter in your normal, daily life. It is odorless, colorless, tasteless and very toxic. Because of this, if carbon monoxide is present in your home or office building, you could be poisoned without even knowing it. It is no wonder that this gas, also known as the “silent killer” is the number one cause of accidental poisonings in the United States.

Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete carbon combustion. This means that it can be created in households, apartments, and office buildings when fuel-burning appliances, such as heaters and boilers, are not in good condition and/or adequate ventilation is not present.

The Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Most of the time, those who suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning do not notice that they are being exposed to toxic gases. The symptoms are similar to those of the flu or other illnesses:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Chest tightness and pain
  • Headache

If CO appears in the home, then household occupants may suffer poisoning while they are asleep. In many cases, they do not awaken before the gas takes their lives.

In order to protect yourself and your household members against the dangers of CO poisoning, it is recommended that you install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. These devices are similar to smoke detectors; they sound an alarm when they sense abnormally high amounts of carbon monoxide in the air and must be checked regularly for battery life.

Carbon Monoxide During a Power Outage

During the stormy winter season, power outages can occur when tree branches or debris fall onto power lines, or when power systems are otherwise disrupted by storm elements such as lightning. In the event of a power failure, many families may turn to alternative equipment for cooking and heating purposes. However, many people are not fully aware of the serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning that can come from improperly using gas appliances or charcoal stoves in poorly-ventilated areas.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause serious injury or death in the event of high-level exposure. Some people, including the elderly, unborn babies, and infants, as well as people with respiratory issues, chronic heart disease, and anemia, are more susceptible to serious illnesses or fatalities.

Reducing the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Unsafe levels of carbon monoxide can build up in the home when a person uses a gas appliance incorrectly or burns charcoal in a poorly ventilated area, and this commonly occurs when people try to cook or heat their homes in the event of a power outage.

To help keep yourself and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning during a power failure:

  • Never use a generator indoors or near a vent, door, or window
  • Never use portable gas camp stoves indoors.
  • Never use a gas-powered range or oven for heating purposes
  • Never grill indoors
  • Never burn charcoal indoors

If you or a loved one has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning or exposure because of a product malfunction or due to the negligent behavior of another person, you may be eligible for legal compensation from the responsible party to cover the costs of your medical, emotional, and financial losses.

Carbon Monoxide in the Home

Carbon monoxide is produced from combustion fumes, such as those from vehicle exhaust, burning charcoal or gas-powered home appliances. Safety officials advise all homeowners to install a carbon monoxide detector to warn occupants of high levels of the dangerous gas. However, you can take additional steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from your home appliances.

  • Each year, have a qualified technician service your water heater, heating system, and all appliances that burn gas, coal, or oil.
  • Never use portable chemical heaters inside the home or camper. Even though the heaters do not have a flame, they still burn gas, and therefore can cause carbon monoxide to collect in an enclosed space.
  • Have a technician service the cooling unit of your gas refrigerator if you ever smell an odor. This odor could indicate a defect in the cooling unit and therefore a carbon monoxide leak.
  • Maintain your carbon monoxide detector, checking or replacing the battery twice each year.
  • Only purchase gas equipment that carries the seal of a national testing agency.

Contact New York City Carbon Monoxide Lawyers Today!

If you have lost someone you love to carbon monoxide poisoning, then you may have the right to claim damages from a negligent property owner. The New York City personal injury lawyers at The Orlow Firm can help you legally assess your situation.