Over the weekend, we had a pretty scary thing happen in our home. I wasn’t planning on sharing it, but when we told our friends, families and neighbors, a few of them encouraged me to share it with all of you to raise awareness of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Sunday morning, our carbon monoxide alarm started sounding near our furnace room. We had never heard it before, so Chris ran downstairs to check what it was. When he realized it was the CO detector, he yelled for everyone to get out of the house “right now!” I had just put Faye down for a nap 15 minutes prior, but I ran into her room and wrapped her up in my arms and got Charly on her leash, too. Greta was already outside crying, worried about her toy puppy on her bed. We ran straight for my parents’ home next door while Chris stayed in the driveway and called 911. I tried to explain to Greta that “her stuffy” will be just fine and we’ll see him again in a little bit. I think she was thinking our house was on fire, but I tried to explain the details of what was happening without scaring her too much: There’s poisonous gas in our house that can make us really, really sick. We need to get fresh air and the fire department is going to make sure our house is safe with no more poison before we go back in.
An ambulance and fire department arrived in a matter of minutes and when they arrived, sure enough there was deadly levels of gas coming from our utility room that had already seeped into the rest of our house. They told Chris and I that if we didn’t have a CO detector in the house, our whole family would have been dead by evening.
Fortunately, we’re fine. I had a bad headache yesterday that suddenly made a lot of sense and Faye has suffered from flu-like symptoms (a common side effect of CO poisoning) but she is going to be okay. They also did a thorough check on Chris since he went right into it and we are all checked out. However, it shook me up all day. We are 100% certain, that detector saved us all.
So where did the gas come from? The fire department turned off both our furnace and water heater–both operated by gas–to be sure. But you can also be exposed to Carbon Monoxide by:
• Furnaces or boilers
• Gas stoves and ovens
• Fireplaces, both gas and wood burning
• Water heaters
• Clothes dryers
• Wood stoves
• Power generators
• Motor vehicles
• Power tools and lawn equipment
• Tobacco smoke
The scariest part is CO has no odor, color or taste so it can’t be detected by our senses. If that alarm didn’t go off, or if we didn’t have an alarm, it would have killed us. I don’t say that for attention or sympathy or a pat on the back because we did have a detector. I share this because we’re a really normal family living in a suburb in Idaho and we woke up on Sunday morning and did normal things like eat breakfast and play with PlayDoh and we had zero idea that our lives were at such risk.
I also share this because if you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, get one today. Please! They aren’t expensive; we have this $19 one (upstairs and downstairs). They are easy to install (a lot of them can just sit in a room or you can easily mount it to the wall) and they are life saving. Lives saving.