As winter weather reaches Georgia, more families will likely make use of
carbon-based fuels to heat their homes and vehicles. These fuels include
natural gas, gasoline, and oil used in gas fireplaces, automobiles, gas
stoves, and generators. While these natural gases are convenient ways
for families to stay warm this winter, they can also pose danger in the
form of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and difficult to otherwise
detect, it is often times termed the "Invisible Killer". When
carbon-based fuels are burned in an area where not enough oxygen is present,
they can become deadly. The Journal of the American Medical Association
estimates that 1,500 U.S. citizens die each year as a result of carbon
monoxide poisoning. In addition to that number, 10,000 more seek medical
care for carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, confusion, shortness
of breath, bluffed vision, and eventually loss of consciousness. If medical
attention is not sought quickly enough, it can lead to death.
Fortunately, there are technologies available to Georgians that detect
higher-than-normal levels of carbon monoxide before it can adversely affect
a person. Carbon monoxide detectors, or CO detectors, are devices that
are similar to smoke alarms. They can be placed in a home or business
to recognize and alert when gas levels are too high. While there are a
variety of types of CO detectors on the market today, each should be placed
in a specific area of the home. The Consumer Product Safety Commission
suggests locating a detector near sleeping areas so that it will wake
you from sleep in the event of high gas levels. In addition, it is beneficial
to locate additional detectors on every other level of a home or business.
It is also important to note that placing carbon monoxide detectors above
or beside fuel-burning objects such as ovens or fireplaces is not suggested
because it may cause false alarms to occur. Also, avoid areas that are
extra humid, such as bathrooms.
We have stressed the importance of operational smoke detectors and alarms
in the past, but carbon monoxide detectors are not as commonly considered
as a must-have in homes and businesses. We urge Georgians to take an extra
step of precaution to protect yourselves and those around you with CO
detectors. They are an inexpensive and harmless way to prevent unnecessary
harm to your family.
Unfortunately, not all businesses and public locations employ the use of
carbon monoxide detectors. An Applebee's in New York City was recently
evacuated after a chance-occurrence led to carbon monoxide detection.
Local emergency medical technicians were inside the restaurant when their
CO detectors began alerting them to high levels of poisonous gas. Upon
closer inspection, a faulty water heater was to blame for the extremely
high levels of carbon monoxide levels present in the restaurant.
In these types of instances, had someone been hurt due to the high levels
of carbon monoxide in the restaurant, the water heater manufacturer or
restaurant itself may have been held liable. If
negligence was found in the manufacturing of the device, that company may have found
themselves at-fault. If the restaurant employees had known about the faulty
water heater and did nothing to correct the problem, they too could have
been held at-fault. Only an experienced injury attorney will be able to
determine the viability of bringing a legal claim for injuries in these
types of situations. If you or a loved one have questions about a potential
personal injury claim, contact Jones & Swanson today for a