This morning’s Buffalo News headline featured the photo of a bright, beautiful 16-year old girl with a promising future, her life snuffed out by a silent killer yesterday.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is colorless and odorless. It strikes with symptoms that could easily be mistaken for the flu. Small doses accumulated over time can be as dangerous as a prolonged exposure. Left undetected, there is potential for harm and death in almost every household in America.
Carbon Monoxide is a normal by-product of combustion. Natural gas fired appliances (stoves, boilers, hot water tanks, furnaces, etc.) give off carbon monoxide. So do wood burning stoves and fireplaces. However, under normal operating conditions and with sufficient ventilation, the CO does not accummulate to levels that can be dangerous to your health.
It’s when there is insufficient ventilation, incomplete combustion or a lopsided air to fuel mixture that problems occur. Such was the case with the hot water boiler that is believed to be responsible for Amanda Hansen’s death as she slept on a basement floor with her best friend and fellow swim team mate.
There are lots of steps to take in preventing its build-up, but the most important safety tool is a Carbon Monxide detector.
They’re not cheap but they are affordable, depending on the value you put on your life or that of your family. And, they are readily available at your local hardware store and even in many supermarkets, so there’s really no excuse for not having one.
Every house needs at least one and the best place to install them is closest to a potential source of CO build-up (gas or wood burning appliances) AND closest to where you’ll hear them. The more the better. They’re designed to alert you long before readings reach deadly levels.
I’ve listed some resources that will help you understand what CO is and tell you lots of ways you can keep safe from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. But, all of this information is useless without a CO detector installed in your home.
So, I’m asking you this one favor, actually I’m begging you: Please CO-operate by purchasing a CO detector for your home today. Don’t wait. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, for as this most recent tragedy teaches us, tomorrow could be too late.
It’s a matter of life and death.
Buffalo News Article: http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/552790.html
Carbon Monoxide Safety Information -
US Fire Administration – http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/all_citizens/co/index.shtm
CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/co/
Home Safety Council – http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/safety_guide/sg_co_w001.aspx
Home Safe – http://www.homesafe.com/coalert/
Links to other Fire & Life Safety Sites – http://www.erie.gov/fire