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Carbon Monoxide Levels and RVs: Protecting Yourself and Your Family

carbon monoxide levelsTraveling by RV is meant to be enjoyable. It should be a life-enriching experience that provides you and your loved ones with memories that last a lifetime. But with RV travel comes safety concerns that must be addressed, and failing to do so can prove tragic. You’re probably familiar with the dangers of carbon monoxide in and around your home. You may already know that children and the elderly are especially susceptible. Chances are, you know what a no-no it is to run your car in a garage with the door down and to have gas heaters in an unventilated environment. Doing either of these things can cause dangerous carbon monoxide levels in the air that, when breathed in, can result in sickness or death due to the invisible, odorless gas. But are you aware of the danger carbon monoxide poses to to RV travelers? There are numerous ways in which RV travelers can be exposed to carbon monoxide. According to the fine folks at the KOA Kompass website, the presence of carbon monoxide in RVs usually results from: • Exhaust leaks from a vehicle engine or a generator • Improper use of portable gas powered heaters • Someone else’s vehicle or generator when camping in close quarters • Malfunctioning or unvented LP gas appliances (Be sure to read the Kompass article in its entirety! It’s chock-full of great tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones from carbon monoxide.) Before you freak out and decide to sell your RV in favor of a flatbed trailer (I hear those things can get a little drafty on long trips), it’s important to understand that while carbon monoxide should be taken seriously, it’s something that can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. “What kind of precautions?” you ask? Well, the first step is to make sure that you have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector meant specifically for RVs. Just like a smoke detector, one of these babies can save your life and the lives of your family. And just like a smoke detector, it only does its job if it’s in working order. Make sure to test the batteries every time you operate your RV, and change the batteries when daylight saving time begins and ends. It’s important to be familiar with the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning so you can recognize them if you’re being affected. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include: dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. It also mentions that carbon monoxide poisoning poses an even greater threat to those who are sleeping or intoxicated, as the fumes can be fatal before one is aware there’s a problem. Again, be sure to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your RV. This is one aspect of RV safety that can be a matter of life and death! How important is it to you to keep an eye on the carbon monoxide levels in your RV? Sound off in the comments! For extra peace of mind and safety, install the Safe-T-Plus product that’s right for you. Image credit: Shawn Carpenter