The danger of toxic smoke in a fire

07/01/2023

When there is a fire, CO from those fires can not only take the lives of the victims but also release into the air, causing adverse effects on the people around. In fires, smoke and toxic gases are the main cause of death, not fire or heat.

- When a fire occurs, CO gas from those fires can not only take the lives of victims but also spread into the air, causing adverse effects on surrounding people. In fires, smoke and toxic gases are the main causes of death, not fire or heat.

- The composition of the smoke depends on the nature of the burning material as well as the conditions of the burning process. In outdoor fires with adequate oxygen supply, the main components of smoke are CO2, SO2, ash, water, and nitrogen oxides. In fires in houses and closed rooms, because the oxygen supply is not enough, the incomplete fire produces toxic gases such as hydrogen cyanide (HCN), carbon monoxide (CO), and NH3. These toxic gases can cause the victim to suffocate when inhaled, and if inhaled too much will cause poisoning and death. In addition, in some other fires, they also produce HCN and phosgene gases that are extremely toxic to the human body.

 

The danger of toxic smoke in a fire

- According to experts, CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless toxic gas. This is the product of incomplete combustion of organic compounds due to lack of oxygen supply. At first, CO gas does not cause discomfort, so it is difficult for us to detect it. When suffering from mild CO poisoning, victims will experience symptoms such as headaches and dizziness; When exposed to larger amounts of CO, the central nervous system and cardiovascular system can be affected, thereby potentially leading to loss of life.

- When entering the human body, CO gas combines with hemoglobin in the blood to form carboxy hemoglobin (HbCO). This is a substance that can prevent the release of oxygen in cells, thereby reducing the transport of oxygen in the blood, causing the body to lack necessary oxygen. More specifically, CO gas from those fires not only affects the lives of victims in the fire but also spreads out to affect people around the scene.

If people inhale CO gas with a light concentration of 0.0035%, they will experience dizziness and headaches for 6 - 8 hours of continuous exposure. With a concentration of 0.01% CO gas, this symptom will come faster in just 2 - 3 hours of continuous exposure. At a higher level of 0.08%, the victim may experience symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, convulsions within 45 minutes of exposure, and become numb after 2 hours. With a CO concentration of 0.32%, the victim can die from just 30 minutes of exposure. At a more severe level of 1.28% CO, the victim lost consciousness within 2-3 breaths and died after only 3 minutes.

 

 

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