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Carbon Monoxide, Another Close Call (How to Protect Yourself)

The other morning I received a message from a client of mine who had just moved to Mexico from the States with her family. I asked for her permission to share the following conversation with our readers, in my continual desire to educate others about the silent and deadly dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Being an informed renter or owner cannot be overstated (i.e. house maintenance and safety checks), nor can the extreme importance of protecting yourself and your loved ones with not just one CO detector, but several, as you will read below. 

Client: Hi Katie, I just wanted you to know the CO alarmS saved our lives last night. Grateful for your emphasis on those.

Me: Hi!! OMG, this just gave me chills…my goodness, what happened?

Client: The top of the boiler was not connected at all. We think they installed it wrong and the part that goes on the top to the vent is missing. We don’t know why it would have been thrown away, it’s really strange.

Me: And your hot water heater is inside the house, I take it?

Client: Yes. I have two alarms in the laundry room and the extra one caught it.

Me: It’s so important to have more than one unit, I am going to re-emphasis this in my next article about carbon monoxide awareness and safety.

Client: We were out to eat late and it was going off when we got home.

Me: So one unit did not pick it up?

Client: The boiler is elevated on a shelf and the one sitting on the top of the washer caught it first before the gas fell lower to the one plugged into the wall. The bedroom alarms didn’t go off so I think it caught it right away. So scary though.

Me: Without naming your or you family, my I share this information on my website and social media as yet another Carbon Monoxide Awareness PSA?

Client: Of course.

Me: …and why having the unitS right at the source (in addition to your sleeping spaces) is so very important, otherwise that CO gas would have ultimately traveled to the other living spaces.

Client: I know! We had just asked to have the handyman fix the exhaust because it was all janky before but then he messed it up worse.

Carbon Monoxide, Another Close Call (How to Protect Yourself)

Me: I am breathing through all of this…as you know all too well, the outcome could have been far worse, sorry to point out the obvious. It is clearly a sensitive topic for me and a trauma of sorts at that, with my husband almost having lost his life to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Client: It’s ok. Yes I am aware. Sorry to cause your adrenaline to spike. I just feel grateful for you and wanted you to know that your story made a impact on us.

Me: No, I don’t want you to feel sorry, please, and even questioned whether or not to send that… I am just being totally honest. I am so grateful to know that in my being vocal about what happened, that so many people have been given the knowledge as to how & why to protect themselves with such a simple, tiny and affordable device. Emphasizing the absolute importance of having more than one carbon monoxide alarm in the direct area of the gas appliance cannot be understated. My adrenaline is calmed with the gratitude of knowing that you and your family are okay.

Client: I really appreciate you sharing. My husband did a ton of research yesterday and is teaching the guy who installs the boilers for everyone around here and he’s saying that my husband solved this problem for him. I think we may have just saved a lot of lives, honesty. 

Me: Thank God you brought all of those CO monitorsI am so grateful that you and your family were protected. I am going to write another article…not a fun one to write, but I must.

Client: I think we fixed it.

Carbon Monoxide, Another Close Call (How to Protect Yourself)

Me: And that is of course venting outside of your home?

Client: Yes, much more calm and CO free. Thank you Katie!

How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones Against Carbon Monoxide:

  • Invest in as many carbon monoxide alarms as you feel is prudent to protect yourself and your loved ones for both home and travel. The link opens to the alarms that we personally use. Do your own research and buy the ones that you feel are best for you and your family. I am not a carbon monoxide alarm expert, just a gal that wants to warn and inform others based on my own personal experience. 
  • Get a carbon monoxide alarm for each room of your home that contains appliances that burn gas, oil, coal or wood. We personally also like to have (and recommend having) one in each of the occupied bedrooms.
  • Follow the manufacture’s guidelines for the CO alarms that you have.
  • Have all gas-producing appliances checked regularly by a qualified, skilled technician and keep them well maintained.
  • Don’t use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
  • Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
  • Don’t use any gas-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines, or generators) in an enclosed space.
  • Don’t burn anything in a fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Don’t use any gasoline-powered engine close to a window, door, or vent.
  • Don’t sleep in any room or space with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms make great gifts for: Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries, graduation, children going off to college, schools, science rooms, college dorms, assisted living facilities, gyms, restaurants, cruise ships, travel, camping…

This list is not exhaustive, but is the best that my personal experience and a cursory google review could come up with. Are there any more tips that you could add? If so, please share them in the Comment’s Section below. It takes a village to look out for each other. 

In peace, safety, health and happiness,

~Katie O’Grady

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About the author: Together with my Retired Firefighter Husband and our now 18-year-old twins who were just 8 when we immigrated to Mexico in 2012, we have created a joyful life of design and freedom South of The Border. Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! Saludos, Katie 🇲🇽 ☘️

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