DETROIT (WXYZ) — In the past week, two families suffered tragedy in metro Detroit from carbon monoxide poisoning. One claimed the lives of a couple in their 70s in Rochester Hills.
Detroit police report two carbon monoxide deaths occurred Monday. Officers found a man in his 20s on the ground outside of a vehicle and a one-year-old was inside.
“Faulty home furnaces are probably the number cause of unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings as are motor vehicles," Dr. Andrew King, an emergency room physician with Detroit Receiving Hospital told 7 Action News.
When natural gas, gasoline or other types of fuel containing carbon combust inefficiently, it makes for the potentially deadly outcome.
Detroit Fire Department Chief James Harris said, “First of all, don’t try to heat your home up with that oven or that stove.”
“Don’t have a generator inside the home. Don’t use it. You’re gonna use your generator outside of the home or power washer or anything with a gasoline engine keep it at least 20 feet away from any window, any vent," he advised.
Purchasing a carbon monoxide detector and making sure any current detectors are in working order is strongly advised.
“I would probably change (the detector) every year. Just to make sure. Just to be safe, and if you have any medical symptoms, any dizziness, if you're feeling faint. Just get out of there, call 911 and we'll come," Harris explained the symptoms.
Data from MI Prevention states approximately 650 Michiganders are poisoned annually by carbon monoxide.
King explained, “The vast majority, thankfully, are not fatal but they can leave some semi-permanent, at least long-term consequences, with significant exposures.”
He said the effects can last for months or up to a year depending on the level of exposure and the person.
"One of the things that we can do is really prevent carbon monoxide and making sure that you're getting your furnace tested, and if there's any concern about carbon monoxide exposure, you gonna call your local fire department or your utility company and they can come check levels to make sure that you're safe," King said.