A new kind of alarm will join your smoke detector in becoming mandatory in every home in 2013.
Carbon monoxide is a particularly deadly health risk because many things can cause it to build in your home, but you can’t smell it, see it or taste it.
So this month, be sure to pick up a CO detector to protect your family.
“CO alarms for new construction have been required for some years, but for existing homes will be required after January,” said Monroe Fire District #3 Fire Marshal Michael Fitzgerald last week. “It’s a smart thing to do for your family.”
Carbon monoxide can come from many sources. Wood stoves can produce it. Propane heaters, charcoal barbecues and operating automobiles also emit it; and occasionally someone working on a car in an enclosed garage or someone in a room over the garage, can suffer carbon monoxide poisoning if the engine is left running too long.
It doesn’t take long for the odorless, colorless gas to overcome people, said Fitzgerald.
“I responded to an incident at an apartment where six people were all unconscious and we found a charcoal barbecue they brought indoors to cool by a window,” he said. “If a neighbor hadn’t called us they’d all be dead.”
It is during power outages that the greatest number of accidental poisonings occur.
“There were a large number of deaths when power was out throughout the region several years ago,” said Fitzgerald. “People were running generators in their garages. A lot of people died.”
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are easily confused with other maladies, he said.
They can include a general feeling of not being well, including headache or nausea and malaise. Erratic behavior is sometimes also a symptom.
Carbon monoxide detectors run about $20-$30 and can be found at department stores and hardware stores.