Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Technologies In Carbon Monoxide Detection

Here are some interesting updates in the detection of carbon monoxide gases in the air. Being so difficult to detect, it requires special sensors and any update in this technology can only assist us all further. Get to know your device.

The detection of carbon monoxide (CO) in the air is a vital issue, as CO is a poisonous gas and an environmental pollutant. CO typically derives from the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels, such as cooking gas and gasoline; it has no odour, taste, or colour and hence it is difficult to detect. Scientists have been investigating sensors that can determine CO concentration, and a team from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), in tandem with the University of Toulouse, has found an innovative method to build such sensors.

As a tool for CO detection, scientists use extremely small wires: copper oxide nanowires. Copper oxide nanowires chemically react with CO, creating an electrical signal that can be used to quantify CO concentration. These nanowires are so thin that it is possible to fit more than 1,000 of them in the average thickness of a human hair.

Two issues have hampered the use of nanowires. “The first problem is the integration of nanowires into devices that are big enough to be handled and that can also be easily mass produced,” said Prof Mukhles Sowwan, director of the Nanoparticles by Design Unit at OIST. “The second issue is the ability to control the number and position of nanowires in such devices.” Both these difficulties might have been solved by Dr Stephan Steinhauer, postdoctoral scholar at OIST, together with Prof Sowwan, and researchers from the University of Toulouse. They recently published their research in the journal ACS Sensors.

“To create copper oxide nanowires, you need to heat neighbouring copper microstructures. Starting from the microstructures, the nanowires grow and bridge the gap between the microstructures, forming an electrical connection between them,” Dr Steinhauer explained. “We integrated copper microstructures on a micro-hotplate, developed by the University of Toulouse. A micro-hotplate is a thin membrane that can heat up to several hundred Celsius degrees, but with very low power consumption.” Thanks to the micro-hotplate, researchers have a high degree of control over the quantity and position of the nanowires. Also, the micro-hotplate provides scientists with data on the electrical signal that goes through the nanowires.

The final result is an exceptionally sensitive device, capable of detecting very low concentrations of CO. “Potentially, miniaturized CO sensors that integrate copper oxide nanowires with micro-hotplates are the first step towards the next generation of gas sensors,” Prof Sowwan commented. “In contrast to other techniques, our approach is cost effective and suitable for mass production.”

This new method could also help scientists in better understanding the sensor lifetime. The performance of a sensor decreases overtime, and this is a major issue in gas sensing. Data obtained with this method could help scientists in understanding the mechanisms behind such phenomenon, providing them with information that starts at the very beginning of the sensor lifetime.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University – OIST. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stephan Steinhauer, Audrey Chapelle, Philippe Menini, Mukhles Sowwan. Local CuO Nanowire Growth on Microhotplates: In Situ Electrical Measurements and Gas Sensing Application. ACS Sensors, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.6b00042

The full article can be read at this post.

Hopefully we will start to see newer technologies in available carbon monoxide alarms in the near future. Stay up to date at the ccmd blogspot.



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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The importance of having a co detector

Having a carbon monoxide detector installed in the home is definitely a life saver. Here we have yet another news story about how this device can save lives. Please read and learn and connect on Facebook or Twitter.

REXBURG, Idaho — It was a normal Sunday for Chris and Julia Marcum. They ate breakfast and spent some time playing with their young daughters before church.

What they didn’t know was there was an invisible danger lurking in their home and it’s likely a small detector saved their lives.

“At first I couldn’t really find what the noise was,” Chris Marcum tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We actually had recently purchased our carbon monoxide detector like a month and a half ago.”

The detector was left forgotten in the Marcum’s furnace room until Sunday, May 15 when carbon monoxide levels became life threatening and the alarm started to sound.

“My husband was like, ‘Everyone get out of the house,’” Julie Marcum says. “I got the baby up from her nap, grabbed the dog and my six-year-old was already outside crying. I think she thought our house was on fire.”

The Madison County Fire Department responded to the house and found the furnace was leaking carbon monoxide.

“It still feels kind of surreal – like we were actually in danger,” Chris says. “That day felt like just a normal day and there was nothing special about it. That’s how it would have felt even if we didn’t have it (the detector), I’m grateful that we did get the detector when we did.”

Madison County assistant fire chief Mikel Walker says this situation is a reminder of how important it is that gas appliances are installed properly and maintained.

“Make sure that your stuff is vented, your furnace is vented properly and your gas stove is vented if it has a chimney,” Walker says. “If your alarm goes off, open your windows, call the fire department, exit the house and protect yourself.”

The Marcum’s two-year-old daughter did get sick from the carbon monoxide but she has recovered and is doing well now.

The family says they’re grateful to be alive and hope those who don’t have smoke detectors will consider getting the life-saving tools.

Original posted here –

Brand new carbon monoxide detector saves family

Great news for Barrie in Canada with the fire service having been given more than 100 CO alarms for distribution to help with the battle against carbon monoxide. Install your sensor as soon as possible

(STAFF) – The Barrie Fire & Emergency Service received a special lifesaving delivery Friday morning.

The service received a donation of more than 100 carbon monoxide detectors courtesy of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth was on hand, along with the bureau’s manager of government relations, Matt Hiraishi, to do the honours at the service’s Dunlop Street headquarters.

The donation is part of an awareness campaign regarding the dozens of deaths each year in Canada attributed to the deadly gas.

In 2013, the province passed Bill 77- The Hawkins Gignac Act making CO detectors mandatory in all homes heated by fossil fuels, or have an attached garage.

The legislation was named in honour of Richard and Laurie Hawkins and their two children who died as a result of CO poisoning in 2008. Laurie Hawkins was an OPP officer. Their Woodstock home did not have a CO detector.

Thanks to @AnnHoggarthMPP & @InsuranceBureau for donation of 100+ #CO alarms. #WeAreGoingToMakeTheSilentKillerNoisy http://pic.twitter.com/DRp5ao0fKw
— Barrie Fire (@Barrie_Fire) May 20, 2016

“What we are doing today reinforces Ontario’s role as this country’s public safety leader,” said Hoggarth. “Our message is simple: If you don’t have a CO alarm in your home, get one. It might end up being one of the most important decisions you make.”

The city fire service plans to distribute the detectors during an awareness week in October.

“As we head into the first long weekend of the cottage season, it’s important to remember that the only way to make the silent killer noisy is with a working carbon monoxide alarm,” said Barrie Fire Chief Bill Boyes, adding alarms should also should be installed at the cottage or trailer.

To date, Hiraishi said more than 60,000 alarms have been donated in more than 60 communities provincewide.

Facts:

More than 50 people die each year from CO poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario
Residents have a responsibility to know about the dangers of CO and that an alarm is a good second line of defence, but not a substitute for the proper care and maintenance of fuel burning appliances.

Continue reading this article here

It is time to take carbon monoxide seriously and not to carry on thinking it won’t happen to you. Visit the news feed here for more help.

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CFOA responds to Government's Fire Reform announcement

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Council putting lives at risk by dodging carbon monoxide detector rules, critics argue

For a while now, it has been law for landlords to fit carbon monoxide alarms in their rented properties, a long with smoke alarms. However, it looks like councils can get away with this. Although some are fitting CO detectors regardless, others are avoiding the expense, see the article below. Rss feed news here.

A COUNCIL has been accused of dodging its own rules and risking tenants’ safety by failing to fit carbon monoxide detectors in its housing stock.

During a cabinet meeting last month, Castle Point Council introduced Government legislation stating that private landlords need to fit detectors in properties with a solid fuel burning appliance.

Landlords breaching the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 can be fined up to £5,000.

A loophole means that council homes are exempt from the regulations.

However, Basildon Council and South Essex Homes, which manages Southend Council’s housing stock, have both installed the detectors anyway.

Rochford Housing Association, which bought Rochford Council’s housing supply in 2007, said it has also has fitted them to all properties.

A Castle Point council spokesman told the Echo it is considering installing the detectors in light of the new legislation.

She said: “The council housing stock does not come under the legislation which has recently been introduced for properties available in the private rental sector.

“However, whilst we don’t currently have carbon monoxide detectors in our properties we are considering a programme of works to implement these within relevant properties.

“In the meantime we have a very proactive programme of regular gas safety checks across all our properties where gas is installed, whereby the annual checks are now undertaken on a rolling ten month basis.”

“We have also committed to an extensive programme of boiler replacements which commenced last year to bring all our boilers to a better standard.”

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, said he is disappointed the authority is “taking a chance with residents’ safety.”

He has urged the council to act quickly to resolve the issue.

Read the full article at the published source here

While we have some councils, perhaps, shirking their responsibilities in fitting co alarms, the Shropshire fire and rescue service have recently launched a campaign to raise the awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning, see below. Learn more at our Tumblr blog.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning. Laura Kavanagh-Jones from SFRS’s Prevention team said: “Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that you can’t see, smell or taste.

Too many people are dying or suffering needlessly from carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s why I am urging every resident in Shropshire to make sure they and their loved ones are protected by installing an audible carbon monoxide alarm.”

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely. The most common cause of this is when an appliance, such as a boiler or cooker, is installed incorrectly or poorly maintained.

The deadly gas can also build up when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. As carbon monoxide has no smell, colour or taste and can seep through walls, installing an audible alarm that sounds when the gas is present is the only way to make sure you are protected.

The gas can be produced by any fuel-burning appliance – such as a boiler, cooker or fire – which is faulty or doesn’t have adequate ventilation.

Full article can be read here

What we can conclude is that having any kind of carbon monoxide device in the household and workplace is vitally important. One of these safety devices can save lives so buy yours as soon as possible.



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Friday, May 20, 2016

How carbon monoxide detectors work

This is a great article posted on the cnet.com website, giving details about how carbon monoxide detectors work. It also looks at why CO is so dangerous and breaks down what the alarms are doing when they detect CO gases in the environment . More CO blog posts available on Medium.

How carbon monoxide detectors work

Carbon monoxide is a killer. This colorless, odorless gas is a normal side product of the combustion of things such as the gas or oil that heats your house. Normally, this is only released in very small amounts and is dispersed into the atmosphere through a vent or chimney. However, if a heater is only partially burning fuel or there isn’t enough ventilation, it can quickly become a problem, because even small amounts can be fatal. That’s why laws were passed that required carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted to most homes, offices and other buildings. Let’s look at how these devices detect this stealthy killer.

How carbon monoxide kills

Carbon monoxide is a stealthy killer. An amount as low as 10 parts per million (ppm) can cause headaches, and 600 ppm levels can quickly lead to unconsciousness and, eventually, death. That’s how it kills most people: it puts them to sleep, then kills them while they sleep. The effect of low concentrations mounts over time, with even a very low concentration causing adverse effects if you are exposed for long enough. That’s because of the sneaky way it harms the body.

Carbon monoxide blocks the ability of your blood to carry oxygen, replacing the spot that oxygen takes on the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This iron-rich compound is how your blood carries oxygen around the body, and carbon monoxide bonds to hemoglobin much tighter than oxygen alone. Over time, as more and more hemoglobin is blocked from doing its job by carbon monoxide, your blood just can’t carry enough oxygen to keep your tissues going, especially the brain. They begin to fail, causing headaches, nausea, unconsciousness, and eventually, death.

How carbon monoxide detectors work

There are several different ways to detect carbon monoxide, but most home carbon monoxide detectors use an electrochemical sensor. These rely on how the behavior of a chemical changes when carbon monoxide is around.

Inside the carbon monoxide alarm is a small sensor with three electrodes on it. These three electrodes lead into a container of a chemical called the electrolyte. This container is gas permeable, meaning that gas from the atmosphere can pass freely into and out of it. A small voltage is applied between two of the electrodes (called the working and the reference electrodes). When carbon monoxide enters the sensor, it reacts with the oxygen also present in the atmosphere, releasing an electron and creating a small current between the electrodes. Some sensors use electrodes coated with platinum or other metals that catalyze the reaction of carbon monoxide and oxygen, helping it to happen quicker than it would normally.

This small current is what a carbon monoxide detector is looking for. It uses this to measure the amount of carbon monoxide: the more of it there is in the air, the more current the sensor generates. Some sensors show you the carbon monoxide level on a display: a useful feature that helps to reassure that the sensor is working. When the current (and thus the carbon monoxide level) has reached a certain level, it triggers the alarm. Typically, they will sound the alarm immediately if they measure a level of above 400 ppm.

It isn’t just a case of raising the alarm once the amount goes over a certain level, though. As well as warning you if the level of carbon monoxide suddenly rises, a carbon monoxide detector should also warn you if it detects a low level over a long period, because this could indicate that the carbon monoxide being produced by a heater or other combustion source is not being dissipated as it should. Typically, a good carbon monoxide alarm will warn you if it detects a level of above 20 ppm for longer than a couple of hours.

Read the full article here How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work ,originally published on Cnet.com

Please continue reading the article at the above link as it gives even further understanding of carbon monoxide and hopefully, once again, highlights the dangers of this gas. Having a working carbon monoxide alarm is critical in maintaining your household safety, choose yours today.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Father of teacher killed by carbon monoxide poisoning calls for national campaign

A great concept that we wholly agree with. There is not enough awareness when it comes to carbon monoxide poisoning, especially when other things are on our mind like of the young woman in the story below. Moving abroad or just moving in general, as well as holidays can mean our guard is down when it comes to CO safety. It is important to remain aware at all times, read the article and get behind the campaign. Read our blog for more CO safety information

Father of teacher killed by  carbon monoxide poisoning calls for national campaign

A man whose daughter was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning has called for greater awareness among Brits abroad.

Mark Dingley spoke at Westminster last week at an event convened by the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG).

Mr Dingley’s daughter Francesca died in Chengdu, China, in February 2015 aged 22, having just moved to the country to start work as an English teacher.

She was killed in her flat by carbon monoxide fumes from an incorrectly installed water heater.

Mr Dingley urged for alarms to be seen as “essential” travel items and for the industry to do more to encourage the public to take detectors with them when they go abroad.

He said: “People die needlessly from carbon monoxide simply because they know nothing about it.

“Educating the general population is key, the government, travel industry and energy suppliers could all do far more to raise awareness.

“We would like to see prominent and robust warnings in government travel advice, at airports and in ferry terminals, in railway and bus stations, in holiday brochures and on travel websites. Detectors should be available in the shops at airports and ferry terminals as well as in the travel sections of large retailers.”

Mr Dingley called for a national advertising campaign, and said advice on government websites must be delivered more forcefully.

On its website, the Foreign Office recommends those living in China should ensure their home contains a working carbon monoxide alarm.

David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate and APPCOG member, said: “I was pleased to bring the Dingley family’s tragic loss to the attention of Parliament so that vital lifesaving lessons are learned.

“We are calling for action from the travel industry to make holiday and longer stay destinations safer, and for more awareness about the risks amongst the wider population, in order to empower people to protect themselves from the silent killer, both at home and abroad.

Please read the full article here

All of us should be remaining aware, not just for ourselves but also for friends and family. You, or someone you know is probably going on holiday some time soon. Ensure they are aware of the risks of carbon monoxide when staying in hotels or camping. You can take a carbon monoxide alarm with you. Many places do not have the strict regulations this country has or have things made to British standard and you cannot rely on the hope that other people have done their jobs correctly. Mistakes do happen, don’t let this kind of tragedy happen to you. Carbon monoxide news stories here.



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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Firefighters And Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide does not just come from faulty fuel burning appliances, it can be generated in a number of different ways and can target various people just there to do their jobs. The following article reviews how firefighters can be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning, more articles available here.

How carbon monoxide kills firefighters
Understanding how carbon monoxide attacks the body is the first step in protecting against it

While looking for an SOP on a large metropolitan fire department’s website, I stumbled across something unrelated that caught my eye. This SOP was from a fire department I highly respect as leaders in safety and employee health.

To my surprise I noticed an SOP allowing for firefighters to remove their SCBA if the carbon monoxide level is less than 50 ppm in the sampling. It is commendable that a fire agency is addressing the exposure of CO and following OSHA’s permissible exposure limit of 50 parts per million over an 8-hour time frame.
Operational SOPs really need to look at the science and at the long-term and chronic exposure issues involving CO.

There has been excellent work done to identify the risk associated with CO from a knock down or acute illness standpoint. Yet some of the finer details are often missed in the attempt to get the message across.

This is due to a lack of surveillance on exposures and patient outcomes by federal agencies. It’s especially true when it comes to firefighters, as only a handful of NIOSH and NIST investigators really understand the fire service’s challenges with exposures to chemicals and suppression activities.

Many of these findings don’t make it into rehab policies. Therefore, the two insidious effects of exposure to carbon monoxide often go unrecognized in the fire service.

Hemoglobin geometry

The first of these relates to molecular change. Somewhere in EMT training you learned that CO has an affinity for hemoglobin 150 to 200 times higher than oxygen depending on the source.

What escapes a lot of educational programs on this is that when CO binds to hemoglobin, it also changes the geometry of the hemoglobin molecule.

The normal geometry of the hemoglobin molecule carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide is designed to travel swiftly and unobstructed through our blood vessels and capillary beds, even passing around the changes in arteries and veins as they become embedded with plaque.

The geometrical change in hemoglobin caused by carbon monoxide makes it harder to pass swiftly through the blood vessels and lends itself to clumping together, resulting often in a clot or obstruction. And the geometry change tends to make it sticky.

Couple this with someone with underlying heart disease and the other fire gases that can stop cellular activity and trigger low blood pressure, and you have a line of duty death categorized as cardiac when in fact it maybe toxicology related.

There is suspicion the extended time CO stays in the blood stream maybe be a causal factor in day-later deaths.

A radical CO

A second carbon monoxide lurking on the fire scene is known as CO in the radical form. If you have taken a fire chemistry course, one of the principle concepts is the formation of compounds or elements that are called free radicals.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can form when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Fire often provides the environment that uses oxygen to create these free radicals.

Once formed, these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction damaging cells, tissue and organs. Free radicals like carbon monoxide like to attack tissue and cells.

A favorite target for the radical CO is the myelin sheath of a nerve cell.

A myelin sheath is like the insulation on a wire; it ensures the electricity or nerve impulse gets to site of where it is used. When a wire’s insulation has a hole in it, the electrical signal is interrupted or delayed, often going somewhere it should not.

The full article can be read here

Most of us only learn of carbon monoxide when we are exposed to it in our homes but it is often the fire brigade that is a port of call when these situations are triggered. Below, residents had lucky escape thanks to firefighters discovered elevated carbon monoxide levels in these homes.

Carbon-monoxide levels spike; residents ‘lucky’ they were out

Leominster Fire Department Lt. Jay Leblanc measures the airflow around the door of a home on 23 Fairmont St. that was found to have dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide leaking from a broken exhaust pipe on a heating unit. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / SCOTT LAPRADE

LEOMINSTER – When firefighters responded to a call of elevated carbonmonoxide levels at a three-family home Wednesday morning, they were relieved to find no one home after detecting extremely high levels of the deadly gas.

“They were lucky,” Deputy Fire Chief Scott Cordio about residents of the triple-decker at 23 Fairmont St. “If anyone was in the home, the situation could have been very dangerous.”

Carbon-monoxide levels in the home were measured by responding firefighters at 500 parts per million, he said. The state considers levels below 9 parts per million to be safe.

Cordio said the department was alerted to the problem when the homeowners went to check on the unoccupied first-floor unit after hearing the carbon- monoxide detectors going off.

Read the full article on this page
We cannot always rely on the fire service to be there for us or to find carbon monoxide leaks in time. It is on ourselves to look after our households and work places to ensure everyone in our surroundings is safe from CO poisoning and to test our carbon monoxide alarms

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