Carbon Monoxide Kills Kentucky Family. Home Had No Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

Kentucky woman’s family dies in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Officials suggest an inexpensive Carbon Monoxide detector would have prevented the tragedy.   From Connie Leonard of Wave 3

SHELBYVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Shelbyville woman is still hospitalized more than a month after her family was found in their home unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning. As friends pulled together to help with medical bills, fire officials warn every family to be aware of this silent killer.

Working in a kitchen on a Friday night is something the friends of 35-year-old Jennifer Lewis have been looking forward to all week.

“She loves to laugh and she loves to have fun,” said friend Charlotte Elvy.

Jennifer’s friends say they miss her big smile and still can’t believe she’s suffered so much from something, most of us, don’t think about as a danger.

In late January, fire officials say Jennifer and her children were sleeping in their Shelbyville home when her boyfriend came in from work overnight and shut the garage door with his car still running. A relative found the family in their bedrooms the next day.

Jennifer’s co-workers at the Shelbyville Masonic Home provided the meal for this benefit to help raise money for the family and faculty and parents from Wright Elementary pitched in.

“We are a bunch of moms that have children just like Jennifer and we felt like this was something she would do,” said friend Angela Bowens. “She’s always helped others and we wanted to help her and her family.”

Jennifer’s family tells us she is progressing, but has a way to go with her brain injury. Friends say she would want her story to be an example if it could help other families. Fire officials say the only way to fend off the odorless and colorless danger is a carbon monoxide detector and preparation.

“Have your furnace checked and make sure if you’re using power equipment like a generator or a car that’s near your house or in your garage that those are shut off,” said Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick.

“That’s the one thing that’s come of this,” said Lynn Gottbrath, the principal of Wright Elementary. “It’s made my staff more aware and a lot of families at Wright aware.”

California Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In Effect

Carbon Monoxide detectors are now *required by law in California*.  From the Hanford Sentinel:

A new law that went into effect this year will require many California residents to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes by Friday.

The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act says that all single-family homes with “an attached garage or a fossil fuel source” will need to have a CO-alarm in place by July 1, according to Senate Bill 183.

The reason is simple: Carbon monoxide is silent and deadly. It’s odorless, colorless and in high enough concentrations it can kill you in minutes.

Each year 30 or 40 people die in California from exposure to the gas, according to the state Air Resources Board, and another 100 or 200 more die across the country.

Kings County is no stranger to these incidents. Last December, a man was working to fix a faulty heater in his home just outside Home Garden right before Christmas. The vent was not working properly, so the cinderblock house filled with carbon monoxide. He passed out, fell to the floor and died. His wife came home shortly thereafter. She knelt at her husband’s side, took a breath, fell down next to him and also died.

Some neighbors noticed their absence three days later and reported them missing. No one had seen them since Christmas Eve.

The Hanford Fire Department is hoping to help educate local residents about the dangers of carbon monoxide through a booth at Thursday Night Market Place in the near future. There, firefighters will help dispel some misconceptions about the gas and give some tips on ways to protect yourself, starting with where the gas comes from and how CO detectors work.

“The gas can come from a home appliance, a heater, a gas stove, anything that burns natural gas,” Hanford Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lynch said. “Vehicles left running for an extended period of time also release carbon monoxide. And gas furnaces are pretty standard these days, so it is important to stay alert, even if you use mostly electrical appliances.”

A CO alarm, mounted high on the wall, will sound when it detects an irregular amount of gas in the air. This is important, because medical officials say the gas can cause unconsciousness with just a few breaths if there’s enough of it in the air.

Without the device, individuals will need to watch for the symptoms commonly associated with carbon monoxide poisoning: Dizziness, nausea, headaches and sudden tiredness or lethargy.

Anyone experiencing those symptoms is encouraged to get out of the house and into fresh air immediately. And to dial 911.

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