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Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

Robert W Munley IIIThere was news this past weekend of many cases of carbon monoxide poisoning and one life tragically lost. A restaurant manager died and dozens of others were treated and released after inhaling carbon monoxide at a Long Island, NY mall. Investigators at the scene found a leak in the flue pipe of the water heater in a restaurant. This terrible tragedy highlights the inadequacy of the codes for carbon monoxide detectors in commercial spaces.

This same weekend, several guests at a resort in Maine were also taken to a local hospital and treated for carbon monoxide poisoning due to a high level of carbon monoxide near a furnace in the building. Last week, three adults died and a fourth person was hospitalized after a carbon monoxide poisoning inside a home in New Hampshire. In January of this year, a Saint Clair man died of carbon monoxide poisoning after the flue pipe of a coal furnace he was using clogged, causing his home to fill with fumes. These tragedies happen every day and are preventable.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that only 25 states have statutes that require carbon monoxide detectors in certain buildings. Although there have also been students affected in schools, most recently 44 students and adults sickened by carbon monoxide fumes at a Utah elementary school, only two states have laws requiring them in schools.

Carbon monoxide (CO), often referred to as the “invisible killer”, is a gas that has no odor or color, but it is very dangerous. It can cause sudden illness and death. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those made by cars and trucks, lanterns, stoves, gas ranges and heating systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year in the United States, more than 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning and 20,000 go to the emergency room.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, you should immediately get everyone, including your pets, out of the house or building and into the fresh air. Call 911 for immediate help.

The CDC offers the following suggestions to prevent CO poisoning from home appliances:

  • Have heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flammable chemical heaters (catalytic) indoors.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator’s cooling unit have an expert service it.
  • When purchasing gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as the CSA Group.
  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the batteries regularly.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer, Robert Munley III, warns that winter is one of the deadliest times of year for home fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. Families struggle to stay warm, but it’s important to clear flues and outside exhaust vents of snow and debris. In addition to the above suggestions from the CDC, Attorney Munley warns never to run a car or truck inside an attached garage, even if the garage door is open. He strongly suggests that everyone install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check and replace the battery each spring and fall. Prevention is the key to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning and saving lives.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to a faulty product, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529.

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