With the cooler weather and the change of the seasons, a lot of folks have started using their furnace. Most of the time, this is safe and uneventful. However, recently carbon monoxide poisoning has become a story. Turning on a furnace that isn't working correctly has killed one man and another is in critical condition due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a toxic gass that you can't see, taste, or smell, and robs your body's ability to carry oxygen through your blood. The carbon monoxide attaches itself to the hemoglobin in your bloodstream. Because of this, oxygen can't attach itself to the hemoglobin, thus depriving your body of oxygen. You eventually go to sleep and usually do not wake up... This is such a sad deal, because it can very easily be avoided.
A carbon monoxide detector costs anywhere from $15 to $30 depending on the model. Some speak to you when the level of carbon monoxide gets to high in your home, and may tell you to get out of your house or seek fresh air. Others just simply alarm, and let you know that there is a problem and that you should seek fresh air.
When I go speak to schools, I spend some time and talk about carbon monoxide poisoning, just as I would talk about the dangers of lightning. The kids seem to get the importance and most say they will ask their parents if a CO detector is in their home. I am addressing some 5th graders tomorrow and will stress this again, and hope I can save some lives by educating.
Chief Meteorologist, Brian Bledsoe