'Silent killer': Dubai Police warn residents against inhaling carbon monoxide accidentally

They inform the public that the gas is colourless and odourless, and therefore difficult to detect

File photo
File photo

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 29 Jan 2023, 12:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 4:16 PM

Dubai Police on Sunday issued an advisory asking residents to be wary of carbon monoxide (CO), a gas that can kill people who inhale it unintentionally.

Terming it a ‘silent killer’, Dubai Police warned residents through a video statement that it is difficult to detect CO because it’s colourless and odourless.

Carbon monoxide is found in fumes produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. It can build up indoors and poison people who breathe it. Therefore, people should be very cautious when they’re inside the room or in closed places such as vehicles.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

The Dubai Police asked residents to “ensure proper ventilation of closed places and use locally certified cooling/heating appliances.”

It also advised residents to install a CO alarm at homes for the safety of the occupants. “Hire professionals to periodically service appliances. Never use essence or coal burners in closed places,” the police said in its advisory.

While motorists have also been advised not to stay for a long period in an idle vehicle in a garage or other enclosed structure.

Two domestic workers died in 2020 due to inhaling carbon monoxide poisoning after they left their charcoal burning overnight to heat the room. They were found dead by their employer at his villa after the two workers failed to turn up at work.

In another incident, an Asian woman and her dog died in 2022 in the Bur Dubai area due to inhaling CO gas leaked from electric generator which was used after the electricity had been cut off from the villa.

There have been instances in other countries where people turned on the vehicle’s engine and heater and fell asleep. But CO emissions led to the death of the vehicle occupants. In the US alone, around 50,000 people visit an emergency room and over 4,000 are hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning every year. More than 400 died due to unintentional poisoning.


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