CO Monitors Will Save Your Pets’ Lives (and the rest of your family, too!)

Everybody is aware by now of the importance (and legal necessity) of having smoke alarms in their homes — and we’ve heard those amazing stories of dogs (and even cats) who awaken their sleeping owners when they smell smoke in the house where smoke detectors are absent or they are not working because of dead batteries. However, most of us are less aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in a house, which a pet cannot alert you to because it is an odorless deadly gas that comes from malfunctioning water heaters and similar equipment (or car exhaust fumes, which can accumulate quickly in a closed garage where a car is left running).

Not only do pets have no way to alert to CO danger, but they (and small children) are the most susceptible to its deadly effect because their bodies are so much smaller than those of adults and succumb more quickly to the deadly gas. The danger can increase in winter in cold climates where all windows are tightly closed.

Fire departments and other authorities regularly remind renters and homeowners to have carbon monoxide detectors in working order on every level of their homes — and their garage — but many people remain unaware of this common, avoidable danger. I recall when I was a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for many years that our training emphasized that in cases of suspected CO poisoning that we were forbidden to enter a dwelling without a protective mask because we could be felled ourselves, even in the time it would take us to extract a victim.

I was reminded of this important safety precaution of having working CO monitors throughout a home when I read about a recent carbon monoxide poisoning incident that left a Maryland woman fighting for her life and her dog dead. The woman’s daughter found her mother unconscious in the home just in time, according to fire officials, but it was too late for the family pet.

Please remember that an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold — for your two-legged and four-legged family members.

—Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: Sleepy Cress via photopin (license)