VIDEO: How can you keep yourself safe from carbon monoxide poisoning?


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Tragedy struck a family in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood while they slept, and firefighters say if it wasn’t for their carbon monoxide detectors, it could have been much, much worse.

This all happened at an apartment on Moultrie Street.

An elderly man died of carbon monoxide poisoning, and a woman who was in the apartment with him was rushed to the hospital.

Four other people who were in an upstairs apartment got out safely.

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer.

So, how can people keep themselves safe from carbon monoxide?

The first step is to have a working detector in your home, and of course, when it goes off, call for help.

Officials say tenants in the upstairs apartment may have saved themselves and the woman downstairs by calling 911 when their carbon monoxide detector went off at 4:30 a.m. The fire department believes the water heater on the lower floor may be to blame for Even Lammers’ death.

The 78-year-old was found downstairs, along with another senior citizen. She was rushed to the hospital. Lammers was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both apartments had carbon monoxide alarms that were working, but it isn’t clear if the couple downstairs heard theirs.

Capt. Erica Arteseros says you want to make sure it is always on.

“You want the carbon monoxide at a level where you can read it if there’s a digital readout, and also lower than the ceiling because the carbon monoxide gas is heavier so you don’t need it to be the height where the smoke alarm is going to be,” Capt. Arteseros said.

There are some signs and symptoms of exposure, like headache, dizziness, and redness in the face.

But there’s still no way to find out if it’s related to carbon monoxide.

Your best bet is to have a detection mechanism.

“Being exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide on an ongoing basis, the effects are cumulative,” Capt. Arteseros said. “So, it’s affecting your bloodstream. It’s affecting your body’s ability to produce oxygen on the long term, even if you don’t get a massive dose all at once.”

“Some of the areas where you want to be sure you have the carbon monoxide detectors are near the garage where your car can put off exhaust, near the appliances in your home that are gas operated, and near the bedrooms, where if you’re sleeping, you won’t be able to tell if you’re getting a headache or a little bit dizzy,” Capt. Arteseros added.

Remember, carbon monoxide has no taste or smell.

So although the noise can be annoying, if the detector goes off, don’t ignore it.

Instead, go outside and call 911.




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