COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As cold weather arrives, the risk of Ohioans being poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO) increases. To educate families on this odorless, colorless and invisible gas, the Ohio Safe Homes Coalition joined with safety advocates, the state fire marshal's office, and Reynoldsburg resident and survivor, Ammie Turos, to host a CO awareness event at the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house near The Ohio State University.
Governor John Kasich declared Nov. 11-17, 2012 Carbon Monoxide Safety Awareness Week, and encouraged all Ohioans to increase their knowledge of CO safety. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. The Centers for Disease Control reports accidental CO poisoning kills more than 400 people and hospitalizes another 20,000 each year. In Ohio, the Coalition states more than 1,700 CO poisoning incidents have been reported since 2007; many of these had multiple victims.
"Because of the increased use of heating appliances during cold weather, we're heading into the peak poisoning time," said State Fire Marshal Deputy Chief Jeffrey Leaming. "Since September, the Ohio media has reported 15 accidental poisonings, five of which were fatal. Families need to take steps now to make sure they're protected by installing working CO alarms."
At the event, the Coalition announced a donation of 50 CO alarms from Kidde, the leading manufacturer of fire safety products, to The Ohio State University's Office of Fire Prevention and Safety. The alarms will be installed in on- and off-campus housing.
In addition to Deputy Chief Leaming, speakers included Assistant Chief Walton of the Columbus Fire Department, Henry Spiller, Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, and CO survivor Ammie Turos. Turos and her son, Jimmy, were poisoned in December 2004 due to a faulty heat exchanger in their home's furnace.
"I didn't know how dangerous CO poisoning was. If I had had a CO alarm in my home, my son may be here today. I'm asking families to take this simple step, install a CO alarm and help protect their children," said Turos.
The National Fire Protection Association says that nearly 89 percent of reported non-fire CO incidents take place at home. Potential CO sources include furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators and car exhaust fumes. When these appliances malfunction or are used improperly, CO poisoning may occur. A working CO alarm is the only safe way to detect this invisible gas.
Effective January 2013, the Ohio residential building code will require CO alarm(s) to be installed outside of each sleeping area in all newly constructed residences that contain either fuel-burning appliances or have an attached garage. The Coalition commends this new requirement and supports the use of CO alarms in all Ohio homes.
About The Ohio Safe Homes Coalition
The Ohio Safe Homes Coalition is an organization dedicated to education, information-sharing, and preventing carbon monoxide incidents and fatalities in Ohio, as well as promoting general health and safety measures inside the home. More information regarding carbon monoxide safety is available at www.OhioSafeHomes.org.
SOURCE Ohio Safe Homes Coalition