Saving lives by monitoring carbon monoxide levels

You can’t smell it, see it, or taste it but it can kill you. Carbon Monoxide often referred to as “the silent killer” exists in our every day lives. From vehicle exhaust, to your fireplace, and gas appliances, it’s the by-product of burning fuels.

Each year 20,000 visit the emergency room because of unintentional CO poisoning and of that number 4,000 are hospitalized. It claims more than 400 American lives annually.

47 ABC spoke with Deputy State Fire Marshall Kirby Travers who tells us, “You wouldn’t know it unless some device was there to alert you. You’re limited really as a person because you don’t see it coming or you don’t know it’s there.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone is at risk for CO poisoning but infants, the elderly, those with anemia, breathing problems, and chronic heart problems are more susceptible.

The reason it’s so deadly is that carbon monoxide sticks to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells preventing oxygen from being transported through your body to your brain, heart, or other cells, causing them to die.

However there are a few tips you can follow to ensure everyone in your home is safe. Make sure that you have a CO alarm installed in your home and if runs on electricity make sure it has a backup battery. Check your CO alarm when you change your clocks in the spring and the fall. Also have your furnace inspected every year.
According to CDC, you should never heat your house with a gas oven and don’t burn anything in a stove or a fireplace that is not vented properly.

Travers tells 47 ABC, “If those appliances have malfunctions they can start to emit CO.”

In light of the recent tragedy that killed a family of 8 in Princess Anne, one of the biggest rules to follow is to never use a generator inside your home or garage even if the doors and windows are open.

Travers tells 47 ABC, “You don’t want to put them close to doorways or windows where you’re not going to see or you’re not going to know that this stuff is coming in.”

On average carbon monoxide detectors cost about *twenty-bucks* — and you can buy them online or at most major retailers, hardware, and home improvement stores. If you have any questions regarding which one to buy do not hesitate to call your local fire department. They will guide you through the process of buying one even how to install them.

If you would like to learn more about carbon monoxide you can do so by visiting the CDC website which is: http://www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm

Categories: Delaware, Education, Health, Local News, Maryland, Virginia