Invisible and odorless, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning has proven to be a dangerous threat to American families with 400 people killed and 21,000 sent to emergency rooms due to unintentional poisonings every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children are at even greater risk, accounting for nearly a quarter of all CO-related calls to poison control centers in 2015.
To raise awareness about this issue and encourage families to be prepared, Safe Kids West Michigan – led by Mercy Health, has joined Fruitport Fire Department, Muskegon Fire Department, Muskegon Heights Fire Department, Norton Shores Fire Department, Safe Kids Worldwide, Kidde, the National Association of State Fire Marshalls and other experts to create a National CO Awareness movement.
“There’s a reason carbon monoxide is called the ‘invisible killer,’ and we want to make sure parents understand the risks,” said Holly Alway, injury prevention coordinator at Mercy Health. “With the winter months approaching, now’s the perfect time to make sure your alarms are all working so you can sleep peacefully at night.”
This marks the first year that these organizations have brought carbon monoxide awareness to light on a national scale, including a Senate resolution sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND). The group of partners are also working together to share simple tips and tools for families, including:
- Make sure there’s a working CO alarm on every level of your house and near every bedroom. Test them every month to make sure they’re working correctly, and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you need to turn on your vehicle to warm it up, make sure to take it out of the garage right away. Even if the door is open, don’t leave it sitting in the garage while the engine’s running.
- Check the vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace outside your home to make sure they’re clear of any snow or other debris.
- If the CO alarm sounds, leave the house immediately. Call 911 or the fire department after you are in a location with fresh air. Remain outside or by an open window until emergency personnel arrive.
For more information about National CO Awareness, visit http://www.carbonmonoxideinfo.com.
Safe Kids West Michigan
Safe Kids West Michigan works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Safe Kids West Michigan is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids West Michigan was founded in 2001 and is led by Mercy Health. For more information, visit safekids.org or www.facebook.com/safekidswestmichigan