Is There A “Silent Killer” Lurking In Your Home?

The Centers for Disease Control, better known as the CDC, defines Carbon Monoxide or “CO,” as an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.

Any time you burn fuel in cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, grills, fireplaces or furnaces CO fumes can be produced. Without proper ventilation they can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu symptoms: headache, dizziness, upset stomach, vomiting and chest pains being the most common. If you breathe a lot of carbon monoxide, it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk are particularly susceptible because they can die from CO poisoning before they have any symptoms-thus the name-the silent killer.

Deadly fumes can develop within minutes in enclosed spaces, entering the bloodstream and cutting off delivery of oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.

Annually more than 4,000 people are hospitalized and 20,000 visit the emergency room from CO poisoning. It causes more than 400 deaths every year.

In today’s article we will highlight two stories about carbon monoxide that made the news and give some tips to avoid CO poisoning.

Recently six members of a family in Fenton Township were found dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning. When rescue workers arrived the windows and doors were closed and levels of CO inside the home were so high that someone would most likely be overcome in less than five minutes. It brought back memories of a couple who were found dead in their bedroom from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator they were using due to a power outage.

Here are some tips for safe generator use.

  1. “Read and follow all of the instructions that come with all fuel-powered appliances, including generators.
  2. Do not use a generator indoors — ever.
  3. Do use an extra-long extension cord with a generator. Be sure the generator is secured several feet from your home and is away from all open windows, doors and air intakes.
  4. Do pay attention to flu-like symptoms, especially if more than one person has them. Headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea are all common symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure.
  5. Move outside to fresh air immediately if a carbon monoxide leak is suspected.
  6. Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you feel sick. Tell them that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be determined by a quick blood test done soon after exposure. The faster you are treated, the better your chances for a quick recovery.”

This story comes to us from London, Ontario, Canada in the London Free Press about two men who were in critical condition from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a defective natural gas powered furnace. The two men were found unconscious by 4 passersby who called emergency services and pulled them out of the shop with the help of the fire department.

Universal CO Detector
Universal CO Detector

We carry three different Universal® brand Carbon Monoxide Detectors a name that has been trusted for 40 years of quality US-made home and family safety products. They are suitable for houses, apartments and mobile homes in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on all levels of your home.

Do you have any carbon monoxide detectors in your home? If not, why not?