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Canaries, cats and carbon monoxide
Well into the 20th Century, canary birds were used in mines by coal miners to detect the poisonous gas, carbon monoxide. Due to their size and physiology, canaries are much more sensitive to the toxic effects of carbon monoxide than humans. So, being held in a small cage ahead, it would sometimes alert the miner to the need for a quick exit, by falling off its perch.
This rather cruel gas detection technique was replaced by technology in the 1980's, but it turns out that other animals are still vulnerable to this day.
Any cat lover will know that cats, stray or domestic, have a tendency to seek out free food and a warm, comfortable place to sleep. Cats that live in care homes are no exception, turning to staff or residents for treats and settling down in snug corners of the laundry room.
Sounds peaceful, right? That is until a series of unexplained deaths of cats in care home laundry rooms, found by Laundry Equipment Direct engineer, Gary Flatt.
"Cats will always search for the most comfortable place to lay, but sadly, poor ventilated laundry rooms containing gas-powered driers are putting cats and their owners in danger," he warns.
"Laundry rooms that are poorly ventilated, containing gas-powered driers, increase the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning, meaning animals who spend extended periods of time in laundry rooms could be particularly at risk.
"Both animals and care home staff are putting themselves in danger through unsafe ventilation practices. If any care home staff are experiencing unexplained headaches, generally feeling unwell, the source of the problem may lie in their laundry room."
So, what's the solution?
1. Make sure the drier and ventilation points are designed and fitted properly by a qualified engineer.
2. Don't block off the ventilation points, under any circumstances.
3. Regularly service all driers as you would all commercial equipment.
4. Schedule in regular gas-safe checks as well as servicing.
5. Install carbon monoxide alarms throughout your premises, including the laundry room.
Following these simple steps could ensure that your laundry areas safer for everyone. It could also prevent any pets from paying the ultimate price.
14th September 2017