The effects of carbon monoxide are subtle and deadly. Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion. It is a colorless, odorless gas slightly lighter than air. Because it is odorless, its presence should be suspected whenever exhaust odors are detected.

Carbon monoxide affects people differently depending on the gas concentration, how fast a person is breathing, the size of the person, and how long they are exposed. Smokers are more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning due to the presence of carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke.

Just like smoke detectors, it is a best practice to have carbon monoxide detectors in buildings, and more research is being done on detectors for cars and airplanes.

Leading symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Nervousness
  • Muscular cramps
  • Muscular twitching
  • Vision impairment
  • Impairment of speech and hearing
  • Mental confusion and disorientation

First aid procedures for carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Call 911
  • If you suspect the injured person is in a hazardous atmosphere do not enter the area unless you have an Self Contained Breathing Apparatus to protect you
  • Move the person from the carbon monoxide area to fresh air
  • If the person is injured check injuries before moving
  • Turn off carbon monoxide source if it can be done safely
  • Begin CPR, if necessary

First aid procedures for driver carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Stop the vehicle immediately when carbon monoxide intoxication is suspected
  • Exit the vehicle and get fresh air
  • Call 911

Questions? Contact Juan Cajandig, EIA Sr. Loss Prevention Specialist.