By: Austin Bauer

It was the middle of the night when our employees Lisa Fisher and her wife were awakened by the loud beeping of their newly installed carbon monoxide alarms.

Fisher had recently purchased the home, and to her surprise there were no smoke or carbon monoxide alarms. So, she had purchased and installed the alarms just the day before.

“We had thought since we just installed the detectors, maybe we did it wrong and that’s why they were going off,” Fisher said.

“We almost ignored it and went back to bed, but when I went to silence the alarm, the whole hallway was full of black smoke.”

What Fisher didn’t know at that moment was the heat exchanger on their furnace had cracked and it was filling her home with deadly carbon monoxide and smoke.

“We got out of the house and called 911. I was frantic and shaking as we moved our cars out of the driveway,” Fisher recalled.

When the fire department arrived, they analyzed the situation and told Fisher and her wife about the defect in their furnace.

Oddly enough, the furnace was relatively new. Had Fisher not installed the alarms when she did, the outcome could have been fatal.

“I just want everyone to know the importance of having these alarms installed in their home,” Fisher said. “It is something that can be easily overlooked or forgotten about, and I just want people to make sure they are safe.”

Carbon monoxide – often referred to as the invisible killer – is a toxic, colorless and odorless gas. Without a carbon monoxide alarm, you often won’t know there are deadly levels of carbon monoxide in your home until it is too late.

Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased from a local hardware or home improvement store. It’s important to ensure they are tested and working properly, every month.

Additionally, now that the weather is cold and furnaces are running, be sure to have your system serviced by a professional at least once a year.

Thankfully because of their carbon monoxide alarms, Fisher and her wife were unharmed by the incident. They were able to have the issue resolved and have not had an issue since.

“We now have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms throughout our home,” Fisher said, “And I would encourage everyone to do the same.”

Fisher’s story is a sobering reminder for all of us to remain vigilant to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe this winter.

Here are some safety tips and reminders to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Place an audible CO alarm on every floor, on interior walls, especially near where people sleep.
  • Never ignore a sounding alarm. If the alarm goes off, leave the building immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • Check or replace alarm batteries when you change clocks for Daylight Saving Time each spring and fall.

There is a higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning exposure during power outages when generators and alternative energy sources are used improperly. If you are using a generator during an outage, keep devices fully outdoors and as far as possible from doors, windows or fresh air intakes, consistent with the safety manual recommendations. Always read the owner’s manual carefully, following all manufacturer instructions and precautions before starting and operating your generator.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide safety, visit our website.