Increased Reports of CO Related Illness Across U.S.

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Over the past few weeks there the news has been full of reports of carbon monoxide related injuries across the United States sending individuals to the hospital.

Most, if not all, were preventable.

Last week, five teenagers were found dead in a Hialeah, Fla., hotel room, where they were celebrating a birthday. The cause of the carbon monoxide is suspected to be a car they left running in a garage under their South Florida motel room.

Earlier this week, carbon monoxide took the lives of two people and sickened three others Tuesday in a Baltimore row house. The leak is suspected to be from a faulty furnace, water heater, or gas range.

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Less than a week ago, a Bridgeport, Connecticut family were rushed to the hospital Monday afternoon after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning in their West Side apartment. The cause was found to be a furnace leak.

This incident follows on the heals of the one less than a month ago of a Connecticut family of five who were taken to Hartford Hospital after becoming ill. Tests found dangerous levels of carbon monoxide caused by a furnace problem.

In Sierra Vista,Arizona five were sent to the hospital after using a barbecue grill indoors as an alternative heating source.

The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas kills more than 400 people in the USA every year and sends 15,000 to emergency rooms, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is important to beware of this "silent killer." Install a carbon monoxide detector, but also consider these safety tips:

  1. Have a qualified technician install and regularly inspect all fuel burning appliances
  2. Regularly inspect fireplaces and chimneys to ensure proper ventilation
  3. At the beginning of every heating season, have a trained professional check all your fuel-burning appliances such as oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.
  4. Install and maintain appliances according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
  5. Never use a gas or charcoal barbecue indoors
  6. Never start a car or gas-run lawn mower or snow blower in a closed space.
  7. Never sleep in a room heated by a gas or kerosene space heater that lacks proper venting.
  8. Never use a portable generator indoors. When portable generators are placed in areas such as garages, sheds, or enclosed spaces, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning multiplies threefold.

Related stories
Seven Tips to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide Sends Five to Hospital in Little Rock, AR

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