A Nighthawk CO alarm makes a loud sound when it detects the presence of carbon monoxide, an odorless, invisible gas that is lethal in sufficient amounts. The alarm alerts the residents of the home and allows them to safely leave the premises.
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of most fuel-burning processes. It can leak into a home because of improperly functioning stoves, furnaces, dryers or other appliances. It can also occur due to improperly vented fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. CO tends to build up gradually and prolonged exposure makes the problem worse. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and mental confusion.
Nighthawk CO alarms come in both battery-operated and plug-in form. Both types should be tested monthly to ensure they are working properly. Plug-in models should also be accompanied by battery-operated models if they do not have an included battery pack, as many deaths from CO poisoning occur during power outages.
CO alarms are designed to detect the gas at levels that are low enough to allow people to safely evacuate a building. This is important because early symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses. People who hear a CO alarm should immediately evacuate the building and call 911. Never try to locate the source of the leak before evacuating. Significant CO poisoning can result in unconsciousness and death very quickly.