Carbon Monoxide - Silent and Deadly

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas. It’s also a very toxic one. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell, CO can kill someone before they are even aware they are being exposed to it. Lower levels of exposure to CO can cause symptoms which many times are mistaken for the flu - headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.

In Atlanta, GA, 500 students at an elementary school had to be evacuated when it was discovered a faulty boiler was leaking CO. Forty-two students and seven adults needed to be treated because of the gas exposure.  Stephanie Hon, of the Georgia Poison Center, told WSPA News that the levels of carbon monoxide fire officials found at the school, 1,700 parts per million, can be deadly over a period of time. Normal levels of carbon monoxide reaches levels of about nine parts-per-million. According to Superintendent Erroll Davis, the school has no carbon monoxide detectors.

A Best Western Hotel in Greensburg KS evacuated guests when high levels of CO were discovered in the pool and lobby area. A local 4-H group of children and parents were attending a Christmas party at the hotel, and several of them complained of severe headaches and nausea. The fire department was called and they discovered the gas leak coming from the hotel pool’s heater. Kiowa County Memorial Hospital Administrator Mary Sweet told St. John News the hospital treated 34 people for symptoms relating to the leak.

Another deadly disaster was averted in Warren, Ohio when a gas leak was discovered at the Trumbull County YMCA. Clients who were at the facility working out began to complain of lightheadedness. The building was evacuated of all employees and clients. Firefighters tested the levels and found the CO level at 942 parts-per-million.

Emergency Film Group’s CO: Response to Carbon Monoxide Incidents DVD training program provides training to firefighters, industrial fire teams, EMTs, police, poison control center personnel, plant safety personnel and others who may be called upon to respond to an incident involving carbon monoxide. To learn more, read here. . .


Carbon Monoxide leak Children being evacuated from an Atlanta school after the detection of a carbon monoxide leak.


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