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‘Silent killer’ carbon monoxide poisoning spikes during winter: Dubai Police

The Dubai Police has warned residents against carbon monoxide poisoning, a “silent killer” that spikes during the winter season.

In a recent safety advisory, Dubai Police said residents should be wary when burning fuel in stoves, ovens, fireplaces and heating systems as these can emit carbon monoxide.

“Carbon monoxide is odourless, so it goes undetected by humans and silently kills them,” said Butti Ahmed Bin Darwish Al Falasi, director of the Security Awareness Department in the General Department of Community Happiness at Dubai Police.

He explained: “Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs in winter as people are more likely to use gas furnaces and heating appliances seeking warmth in closed places or structures with minimal airflow.”

Authorities recently reported the death of two domestic helpers due to carbon monoxide poisoning after they left charcoal burning overnight to heat their room.

Wrong practices during summer season also lead to cases of carbon monoxide poisoning among residents, police said.

“In summer, the most common way of getting carbon monoxide poisoning is when the AC of an automobile is on while it’s idle in a closed garage or space without proper ventilation. During the energy-making process, the vehicle pulls in the air mixed with CO through the AC vents. Then, the automobile’s occupants accidentally inhale carbon monoxide and become weak due to lack of oxygen in their bodies, eventually dying,” Al Falasi explained.

“We strongly advise installing toxic gases detectors and never using equipment that may cause fires in closed places such as essence or coal burners, and not stay in an idle vehicle in a garage or other enclosed structure for a long period,” he added.

Ibtisam Abd Al Rahman Al Abdouli, Poisons Senior Expert and director of the Specialized Forensic Evidence Department at the General Department of Forensic Science and Criminology at Dubai Police, said carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that could lead to loss of consciousness or death when inhaled. Other minor symptoms include headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting. ICA/Expat Media

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