Carbon monoxide (also known as CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause serious illness and even death. In fact, about 430 Americans die and another 50,000 visit ERs due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year.
Both people and pets can be harmed or killed by CO, which can build up to dangerous levels in closed homes or garages. Exposure can come from idling cars, furnaces, and appliances such as heaters.
Carbon monoxide symptoms can be subtle with low levels. People report feeling headaches, experiencing mild visual or auditory hallucinations, chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, and confusion. In some situations, people may feel tired and may lay down to sleep, only to pass away due to CO exposure.
If caught in time, carbon monoxide poisoning is treatable. The first priority is to get all people and animals out of the affected area and into fresh air. This is an emergency, so you’ll want to call 911. At the hospital, anyone who is affected may be given pure oxygen or may be placed in a pressurized oxygen chamber.
How Can I Prevent CO Poisoning in My Florida Home?
Here, we discuss how to keep yourself and others safe.
- Never warm your car up in your garage. Even with the doors open, CO levels can rise dangerously. If you have a garage attached to your home, make sure there is good separation and a solid wall between the two so CO can’t leak into your living space.
- Never run appliances intended for outdoor use inside. BBQs, grills, generators, outdoor heaters, kerosene lanterns, and anything else intended for outdoor use can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Always read and follow instruction for the proper use of any products you use. Even when running these items outdoors, be careful of exposure. Always place CO-producing appliances at least 20 feet from open windows and doors.
- Don’t smoke indoors. In addition to CO, it can expose you to tar and other dangerous chemicals.
Install a CO detector. Carbon monoxide detectors alert you if CO levels rise in your home, so install detectors outside of bedrooms, with at least one alarm on every level of your home. Replace the batteries in these detectors twice a year and test the device, according to the manufacturer instructions, every few months. Replace your detectors every seven years, or according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Check your appliances. If you have any appliances that use coal, gas, or oil, such as a water tank or furnace, have these serviced at least once a year by a qualified professional.
- Keep vents clear. Flues and vents can trap CO in your home if they’re clogged.
If I Suffer a CO Injury, Do I Have a Claim?
If you rent your property and are injured by CO exposure, you may have a claim if the landlord failed to take reasonable precautions, such as maintaining appliances and installing carbon monoxide detectors on the property. Even if you’re injured in your home, you may want to investigate whether the manufacturers of appliances or the source of the CO leak were negligent in designing or producing their products. If that’s the case, you may have a products liability claim.
To find out whether you may have a claim, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online to schedule a free, no obligation case consultation with a Hollywood personal injury attorney. Our legal team has already recovered more than $100 million for our clients and we have six decades of experience to put to work on your case.