Carbon Monoxide is widely known as the “Silent Killer.” The poisonous gas has no scent, no color, and no warning before it takes the life of a person. Many homes come equipped with some version of a carbon monoxide detector, and many people shrug them off as unimportant or unnecessary. However, these alarms could save you and your family from a potentially fatal situation.

In the United States, approximately 400 people die from accidentally inhaling carbon monoxide. According to the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA, there were 72,000 reported non-fire carbon monoxide incidents reported from 2006 to 2010, showing a steady increase over time. In 2003, there were approximately 40,900 reported non-fire carbon monoxide incidents, while close to 80,100 incidents were reported in 2010. The majority of these incidents occur in one or two family residential properties.

According to the NFPA, most carbon monoxide incidents are reported in the evening hours between 5:00pm and 9:00pm, after most families have returned home for the day. Carbon monoxide incidents are most common during the months of December and January, with February and November close behind. Summer months tend to see a drop in carbon monoxide related incidents, due to less people utilizing heat sources that produce the toxic gas.

In a study published by the Center for Disease control, CDC, it was found that across all age groups, men were more likely to die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC’s study found the average annual number of deaths from 1999-2010 for men and women in four different age groups. In the 0-24 year age range, an approximate 40 males and 20 females were killed each year as a result of carbon monoxide. In the 25-44 year range, close to 100 men and 20 women were killed each year. Adults aged 45-64 saw an estimated 110 men and 30 women pass each year, while the 65+ age range saw around 70 men and 40 women die form carbon monoxide each year.

Effective carbon monoxide detectors, like the ones offered by Crossfire Alarms, alert us when carbon monoxide gets to a dangerous level. To protect your family, it is important to take the right steps. Have your heating system, including vents and chimneys, inspected each year and have all repairs made immediately. Never bring charcoal grills or portable generators inside of a home or garage. Do not use ovens or stoves for heating. Make sure your fireplace flue is open before lighting a fire in your fireplace. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Vomiting, mental confusion, loss of coordination and loss of consciousness can all happen at extremely high CO levels.

Carbon monoxide may not seem like a common issue, but it is a danger that can affect every single home. It is important to do as much as you can to keep your home safe, including equipping your home with reliable carbon monoxide detectors. The more you do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, the less likely you are to become another statistic.

For more on keeping your home safe from carbon monoxide, take a look at our carbon monoxide detectors over at Crossfire Alarms.