This section provides advice on fire prevention on the following categories:
- Home Fire Safety Advice
- Carbon Monoxide Awareness
- Fire Safety Management for your Organisation
- Fire Safety Codes and Standards
- Fire Statistics
CARBON MONOXIDE AWARENESS
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless poisonous gas. The incomplete combustion of organic fossil fuels such as oil, gas or coal is a common source of CO and is responsible for many cases of non-fatal unintentional CO poisoning. Each year in Ireland 1 or 2 people die from unintentional CO poisoning in the home in incidents related to the burning of fossil fuels.
Dangerous amounts of Carbon Monoxide accumulate in the home as a result of any or a combination of the following:
- Poorly installed, faulty or damaged heating appliances.
- Heating appliance not maintained or serviced.
- Rooms not properly ventilated.
- Blocked chimneys or flues.
- Indoor use of a barbecue grill or outdoor heater.
- Running engines such as vehicles or lawnmowers in garage or shed.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illnesses such as a cold or flu. They include
- Unexplained headaches, chest pains or muscular weakness
- Sickness, diarrhoea or stomach pains
- Sudden dizziness when standing up
- General lethargy
If anyone in your house has any of the symptoms outlined above get fresh air immediately, then go to your doctor as soon as possible and ask him/her to check for Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
If you find a person ill or unconscious near any fuel burning appliance, be careful in case you also become a casualty. Get fresh air immediately by opening windows and doors and seek urgent medical attention.
Stop using the appliance immediately and do not use it again until it has been checked by a registered installer or a qualified service agent.
Solid Fuel Appliances
Watch out for any of the warning signs that your appliance is not functioning properly:
- Staining, sooting or discolouration around the appliance/vent/chimney
- Appliances that burn slowly, badly (orange or 'floppy' flames) or go out
- A yellow or orange flame where normally blue
- Condensation or dampness on walls and windows in the room once the appliance is lit
- A strange smell when the appliance is on
- Loose or disconnected vent/chimney connections or guards
If you detect any of these conditions, have a professional service technician fully examine the unit for safety.
Regular inspection and maintenance of appliances, vents, flues and chimneys are the best ways to protect you and your family from the hidden danger of carbon monoxide. For added protection install an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Many different alarms are available but we recommend that the alarm;
- Complies with European Standard EN 50291 - This should be marked on the box
- Carries the CE Mark
- Has an 'end of life' indicator - This indicator should not be confused with any 'fault' indicator
- Carries an independent certification mark – For example a kite mark, this indicates that the alarm has been approved by an accredited testing and certification organisation.
One alarm may not be sufficient, if the appliances/flues are located in more than one room, then an alarm should be fitted in each of those rooms.
Always follow the alarm manufacturer's instructions and if any aspects are unclear, contact them directly for further guidance.
You should test the alarm regularly and replace it when it reaches the end of its life.
While Carbon Monoxide alarms may provide an extra measure of warning remember these are no substitute for regular inspection and maintenance of appliances, vents, flues and chimneys.
For further information and advice go to http://www.carbonmonoxide.ie