Carbon Monoxide Awareness

 

Carbon Monoxide Awareness

January is Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Awareness Month in the state of New York. The William Mattar Law Offices would like you to be aware of this lethal gas and its harmful effects.

On January 17, 2009, the Hansen family, of West Seneca, NY, received the ultimate bad news. Their daughter, Amanda, had died while sleeping at a friend’s house . It was determined that the boiler in the home was leaking carbon monoxide. Amanda’s cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. In May 2010, Amanda’s Law made it mandatory for every one or two-family home throughout New York State to have functioning carbon monoxide detectors. In addition, the carbon monoxide detectors need to be changed every five years.

Since Amanda’s Law was put into effect, attorney William Mattar has been an advocate of the law. He has even created his own program to help people be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you need a carbon monoxide detector, they can be found at most home improvement or hardware stores. Some basic models are only about $10, which is a very small investment to help keep your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is found in the natural gas. Natural gas runs into many homes and offices throughout the state. An enclosed gas system, such as the one you would find in a properly installed gas furnace or stove, is an efficient and clean way to obtain energy. However, any kind of breach in the system will allow the gas to escape and create a carbon monoxide problem.

There are several reasons why carbon monoxide poisoning occurs with the most common being:

  • Natural gas appliances being used long after their useful life has run out
  • Undetected holes in gas intake hoses for natural gas appliances
  • Improperly installed natural gas appliances
  • Defective parts used to install natural gas appliances
  • Defects in natural gas appliances that lead to gas leaks

How To Detect Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is extremely difficult to detect carbon monoxide poisoning without properly certified carbon monoxide detectors. Many people have fire and smoke detectors in their homes, but few had carbon monoxide detectors in their homes until Amanda’s Law took effect.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen gradually or immediately. In some instances, family members may start to feel ill as a slight carbon monoxide leak starts in their home. Within a few days, the leak will expand to the point where it becomes fatal. In most instances, a large leak will suddenly appear and become a fatal situation in just a few hours.

The need to evacuate a home that is filling with carbon monoxide is just as urgent as leaving a burning building. However, carbon monoxide is that it cannot be seen and it has no odor. Because of this, most people who are about to become victims to carbon monoxide do not get the same warnings they would get if their home was on fire.

It is possible that a fire, even without a smoke detector in the home, could wake people up and force them to evacuate the building. But carbon monoxide does not give the residents of a home any warning at all. This is why Amanda’s Law makes carbon monoxide detectors mandatory throughout New York State.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In 2015, 393 people died from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning throughout the country. In most cases, these people died in their sleep during the winter months. These deaths can be prevented by taking the proper measures and following Amanda’s Law.

Each year, you should have your gas furnace and stove inspected by a certified professional. That professional will inspect your gas connections and make sure your appliances are operating safely. Gas pipes and hose fittings should also be checked annually to be sure there are no leaks. Gas appliances should only be installed by certified installation experts and re-inspected three months later to be sure that there are no defective parts or loose connections.

Helping Our Neighbors: The Firm in Action

William Mattar law offices has been spreading awareness on the dangers of carbon monoxide for several years. Because of that awareness, a William Mattar staff member was able to spring into action to help a local family. She learned that a single mother in the area was having trouble with recent furnace repairs. Additionally, everyone in the home was not feeling well. Suspecting a carbon monoxide leak, she made some phone calls to see if a reputable and licensed furnace repair company could examine the situation.

The results stunned everyone. Not only was the furnace in dire need of being replaced, but it was leaking carbon monoxide. Had the furnace had not been replaced right away it would have released toxic levels of carbon monoxide. The family would not have made it through the weekend if they hadn’t called for help. Countless lives have been saved through the awareness of carbon monoxide dangers.

In the past we have supported programs to help distribute thousands of dollars worth of carbon monoxide detectors. We have worked to raise awareness and encourage everyone to test and/or replace their current detectors.