Dangers of carbon monoxide should be high on your list for family safety

Dangers of carbon monoxide should be high on your list for family safety

TOLEDO (WTOL) - There are so many things to keep in mind these days, like getting the kids to school and getting ready for the holidays.

But it’s also the time of year to protect your home.

We’ve all done it; putting off home improvements because we didn’t want to spend the money. And who likes to pay for preventative maintenance?

But there’s one project that you should definitely not ignore. Your family’s safety depends on it.

It happened last winter in Perrysburg, when the Killbride family woke up sick on January 17.

One vomited, another had seizure like symptoms, and another passed out while trying to help.

“You don’t smell it. You don’t see it. It’s not smoke that you can see. If you don’t catch it on time, you could end up dying,” said Jihad Abbas, a vascular surgeon at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.

It was carbon monoxide, pumping into the Killbride home at sky high levels.

An investigation revealed gas was pushed into their home when the heat exchanger on their furnace failed. They all survived, but it was the scare of their lives.

“If the mother didn’t wake up the father and the father didn’t realize there’s a problem, they could not have woken up all of them in the morning,” Dr. Abbas said.

As cold weather is here and we fire up our furnaces once again, he said it’s absolutely critical to have preventative maintenance done on our furnaces.

“Unfortunately people don’t pay attention to these things, either for financial reasons or kind of laziness, but in the end, it’s a lifesaver,” said Dr. Abbas.

He said carbon monoxide attacks your bloodstream and delivers carbon monoxide, instead of oxygen, to your organs.

It’s like a poison that causes the warning signs: headaches, nausea, dizziness, and, in the worst case scenario, death.

But if you or a family member are overcome by carbon monoxide, hyperbaric chambers are here to help at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.

Patients are treated there every day: for diabetes wounds, blood loss anemia, and the big one, carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hyperbaric nurse Melanie Johnson showed us that when inside, a patient is flooded with 100-percent oxygen under pressure. It can remove the deadly carbon monoxide from their bloodstream.

But sometimes, it’s tragically too late.

“When you see little babies, little children not make it, and the families, it’s really sad and I’ve seen it and it breaks your heart. It really does,” said Johnson.

To keep your family out of one of the chambers, don’t skip the maintenance on your furnace. And as any firefighter would be quick to tell you, don’t forget to have carbon monoxide detectors in your homes along with smoke detectors.

Carbon monoxide alarms will go off when the gas is detected.

“Take care of these small things, they might cost a little bit but ultimately they might be a life saver,” said Dr. Abbas.

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