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NBC33 SAFETY ALERT: Protecting your family against carbon monoxide poisoning

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POSTED: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 10:19pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 11:22pm

You can't see it. You can't smell it. You can't even taste it, but it's out there and it can kill you.

Corey Spano with Custom Security said, "It takes as little as 45 minutes to be dizzy, nauseous.  You can die within 2 hours just from slight exposure."  Carbon Monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 Americans each year.  After a hotel scare in Maine and a leak at a New York mall that left one restaurant manager dead and dozens in the hospital, people in Louisiana are taking notice.

"It's really devastating, because who knows we need a carbon monoxide meter," said Baton Rouge resident, Don Major.  "It's a blessing for me to [hear] that devastating story to teach me a life lesson."

The body needs oxygen. If there is too much carbon monoxide in the air, it blocks your red blood cells from getting the life giving gas.  "It's about the same weight as air, so a lot of people think it sinks, but it really doesn't," added Spano. Remember, the toxic fumes come from items in your home: gas ranges, heating systems, and the vehicles in your garage.

Experts say the only way to know that fumes are seeping into your home is by a carbon monoxide detector.

"The device that we provide will actually alert us in the central station right here, and from there we can go ahead and dispatch to fire department," said Spano, holding a device.  "Put them outside of the hallways of all bedroom areasand on every living area of a home. Walmart, hardware store, you can pick them up for as little as twenty dollars. Some say it's an investment worth making.

"No, I never figured I would need a carbon monoxide meter," said Major.   "I'm looking into getting one."
If you've been living without one of these alarms in your home, experts say, "you've just been lucky so far."

An optimistic Major said, "Now I can share this story with other people."

Experts advise against getting any paint on the device, as it might block the sensors.  As always, don't grill or run a generator inside.  These gases send about 20,000 people to the hospital each year. For a list of safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.

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