Do YOU have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your unit?

Do YOU have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your unit?

We recently had an incident in one of the Willoway buildings that could have been deadly for our residents. Late one evening, a resident in one of the units heard their carbon monoxide detector alarming. They immediately alerted others in the building to vacate and called the Fire Department. Upon arrival, the Fire Department discovered the building did indeed have dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The Fire Department located the source (a neighbor’s furnace) and called Consumers Energy to shut off the gas to that furnace. All units in the building were checked for carbon monoxide levels and each resident was checked for the carbon monoxide level in their blood. The two residents in the unit with the leaking furnace had dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood. The Fire Department stated the residents of the unit with the faulty furnace would most likely NOT have awakened in the morning had the neighbor with the CO detector not been home to alert the residents in the building since other units in the building DID NOT have a carbon monoxide detector.

BOTTOM LINE…Don’t count on your neighbor’s carbon monoxide detector to save YOUR life. Make sure YOU have a carbon monoxide detector in YOUR unit—it might just SAVE YOUR LIFE!

Frequently Asked Questions about Carbon Monoxide (CO)…

  • Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poison gas that can be fatal when inhaled.
  • It is sometimes called the “silent killer”.
  • CO inhibits the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen.
  • CO is the product of incomplete combustion. If you have a fire/flame, you have CO.
  • Initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu without a fever and can include dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue/weakness, and disorientation/confusion.
  • Left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause convulsions, unconsciousness, brain damage, heart and lung failure followed by death.
  • Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • A little CO over time can kill and a high concentration can kill in minutes. Do not ignore the symptoms or a CO detector alarm.

About carbon monoxide (CO) detectors…

  • The only safe way to detect carbon monoxide (CO) in your home is with a CO alarm.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors range in price from $20-$100. A decent CO detector that plugs in and has a battery backup can be purchased for about $30; ones that also include a digital readout of CO level are about $35.(Amazon has some of the best prices).
  • A CO detector should be placed near a sleeping area either in the bedroom or in the hallway just outside the sleeping area.
  • Place the alarm at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances and where they can be heard by sleeping occupants. (This is why CO detectors are best located in your unit as opposed to the basement common area.)
  • Do not place the CO detector in dead air space or next to a window or door.
  • If your CO detector alarms, leave your unit, go outside and call 911.