Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stop killer carbon monoxide

    Carbon monoxide kills, but with precautions, no one has to become a victim of the deadly, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is impossible for humans to detect on their own.
    A Pocatello couple and their two sons recently died in their home from apparent carbon-monoxide poisoning. The local coroner said the likely culprit was an improperly vented gas water heater. The home was not equipped with a carbon-monoxide detector that could have alerted the family to the threat. Family members and friends were left to grieve and to wonder at this senseless loss of life.
    If there is any good to come from these tragic deaths, it is to remind the living that technology is available that can alert others before they suffer a similar fate.
    Carbon monoxide is produced by incomplete burning of natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal or wood. When inhaled, the gas replaces the oxygen upon which life depends, starving organs, and eventually leading to death.
    Symptoms can be mistaken for other illnesses and disorientation can prevent life-saving action. They may include headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, collapse, muscle weakness and unconsciousness.
    In the U.S., an average of 430 people die each year from unintentional carbon-monoxide poisoning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. These days, affordable alarms that can detect the gas before it kills are available at hardware stores and other retail outlets.
    Home and business owners who use any of the fuels listed above should protect themselves, their families and other building occupants with simple plug-in detectors to alert them to the mortal danger of this insidious gas.

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