Fire officials sound alarm on carbon monoxide poisoning after 2 separate Md. incidents

Carbon monoxide detector
Carbon monoxide detectors can protect you and your family this winter. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/dehooks)

Local fire departments are urging residents to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes after nine individuals suffered carbon monoxide poisoning early Monday morning in Maryland.

In Prince George’s County, six children and two adults were taken to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. A woman in Montgomery County was also taken to the hospital for monoxide poisoning. She called 911 after her smoke detector went off.

Daniel Ogren, with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, warns that smoke detectors cannot usually detect carbon monoxide levels.

He suggests having at least one stand-alone carbon monoxide detector in your home, which is required by law in D.C. and Maryland. If a tenant in Virginia requests a detector, landlords must provide one.

In ideal circumstances, Ogren says a detector should be placed in every bedroom and on every floor of your home.

Routine maintenance on sources of carbon monoxide also cuts down the risk of exposure.

“Common sources in the home would be a furnace, a hot water heater, a stove, an oven or a fire place. In homes that have attached garages, it could come from a car,” Ogren said.

If you are exposed to carbon monoxide, common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, upset stomach and vomiting. Ogren says symptoms often resemble the flu.

“In severe cases you can develop chest pain, confusion and decreased levels of consciousness,” said Ogren.

And if levels get high enough, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.

Ogren said if you suspect you are exposed to carbon monoxide, call 911 immediately.

“They call this the silent killer because there’s no odor, you can’t tell what’s happening until you have the symptoms, and really, carbon monoxide detectors will save lives, and so we really want to get the message out there that everyone should be having these in their homes,” Ogren said.

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