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How to Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is known as a “silent killer” for good reason. This past weekend alone, multiple deaths and hospitalizations were contributed to the deadly chemical.

In Pocatello, Idaho, a family of four was found dead in their home. The bodies of Bill and Ross Parrish were found on Sunday, along with their 14-year old and 12-year old children, Keegan and Liam.

The family was expected in church at a family gathering on Sunday. When they didn’t show up, a family member decided to go check on them that night. They were all deceased. They simply went to bed on Saturday night, and never woke up again. According to Kim Quick, Bannock County Coroner, carbon monoxide is believed to be the culprit.

Then, there’s the New York restaurant manager who was killed by the lethal poison over the weekend. Seven emergency workers who first responded to the scene, along with 27 other people, were also hospitalized.

In yet another incident, which occurred in Ogunquit, Maine, seven victims had to be rushed to local hospitals. They all complained of severe headaches and nausea while at the Falls Motel. Responders investigated and found very high levels of the silent killer.

Just weeks ago, a Baltimore hotel suffered a carbon monoxide leak. Nine people were hospitalized due to the incident. And, in 2013, three people were killed by the dangerous toxin within a two-month period. Is it a coincidence that the multiple incidents occurred in the exact same North Carolina motel room?

5 Important Carbon Monoxide Warnings

Everyone is at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s why it’s so important that people understand the risks related to the invisible executioner. Here are five things you need to know about the threat of carbon monoxide:

  1. Carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and odorless. That means that you can’t detect its existence if there’s a leak. But, it can cause serious illnesses, even death.
  2. If you have a carbon monoxide leak, you should be worried. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that sources of leaks include automobiles in closed garages, leaking furnaces and gas space heaters without vents.
  3. Carbon monoxide stops you from absorbing oxygen. You need to breathe in oxygen to live. However, if too much carbon monoxide exists in the air, you won’t have the ability to breathe in the amount of oxygen you need to survive. This can lead to severe tissue damage, as well as death.
  4. The symptoms of carbon monoxide often resemble other things. There have been many cases where carbon monoxide poisoning has been mistaken for flu symptoms. Eventually, the poison can lead to mental confusion, loss of muscle control and death.
  5. Carbon monoxide is detectable. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that there are several precautions people can take to prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide.

Safety Tips to Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Have your vents, chimneys and heating systems inspected and serviced by a professional each year.
  • Portable generators are for outside use only. Never use them inside garages or homes, under any circumstances.
  • Never operate a charcoal grill inside a house, garage or any closed in area.
  • Do not use your oven or gas stove for heating purposes.
  • When using your fireplace, the damper should remain open until all of the ashes have cooled off.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms outside of each sleeping area in your home. The alarms should be battery-operated, or come with a battery backup.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
    • Confusion
    • Sleepiness
    • Vomiting
    • Nausea
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Headaches

If you suspect that you may have a carbon monoxide leak, evacuate immediately, and call 911.

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