CANON CITY — With winter weather settling in, many of us may have our heaters on for hours at a time. But, as one Canon City woman found out, that can have deadly consequences. News 5 met with her to learn more about the warning signs of a carbon monoxide leak, and how to prevent one.
Carbon monoxide has been dubbed the silent killer, as an odorless and colorless gas that is created whenever fossil fuels are burned, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reports that at least 430 people die throughout the country every year from accidental carbon monoxide leaks.
Shirley Johnson said she has a full home security system through ADT, complete with carbon monoxide detectors. "I was cooking and then I kept smelling a strange smell in my house, but I thought it was my cooking," said Johnson.
She said that lasted for around three days, and she began to feel exhausted and suffer from headaches. On the last of three days, the alarms for the ADT carbon monoxide detectors went off, "and ADT called me on the phone and said get out of the house," said Johnson.
ADT told Johnson there were carbon monoxide leaks in two parts of her home, her basement where the boiler is, and her bedroom which is right above the boiler. When the fire department came to her house, "the lieutenant said you're lucky to be alive lady, because you know, I told him how long it had been going on, and he said we sometimes come to a lot of cases where people don't make it through," said Johnson.
The CDC said batteries in a carbon monoxide detector should be changed twice a year, and any heating system, water heater, and a gas, oil, or coal burning appliance should be checked by a technician once a year.
You do not have to have a home security system, like ADT, to have carbon monoxide detectors. Many retailers sell battery operated ones.