December 7 2016
Now is the Time to Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
By: Rich Hosford
Authorities are advising people to check their carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in the wake of a tragic event that occurred Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Police in Acushnet said they responded to a home of a father and 9-year-old son on Wednesday morning after the boy’s mother couldn’t reach them by phone. When emergency crews arrived they found the pair dead and a high CO levels in the home.
Carbon monoxide is generated any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces, the Center for Disease Control says. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
CO is very dangerous, Lt. Peter McAnespie explained to BNEWS after a case of CO poisoning in town last year. It is odorless and colorless and has the same weight as air, making it undetectable to human senses. It also enters the human bloodstream 200 times more readily than oxygen so when it is inhaled it enters the blood before oxygen does.
The CDC says the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, the CDC continues. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
The best way to protect yourself against CO poisoning is to make sure you have CO detectors and that they are in good working order. You can test your detector by pressing the “test” button.