They were sleeping peacefully – A Carbon Monoxide story

Ray of Sun
A number of years ago, I was woken by a strange beeping noise, being only half awake, I wandered throughout the house searching for the sound, when it finally dawned on me – it was our Carbon Monoxide Detector. I immediately dialed our gas company (first mistake) and they told me to open all the windows to air the house out and then call the Fire Department. I dialed 911, and reported that our Carbon Monoxide Detector was beeping. Immediately I was asked if there was anyone else in the house? It was the middle of the night, my husband was at work, I was not fully awake thus not thinking properly, because I responded with yes, my children and told him “they were in their beds sleeping peacefully”. Just as I finished this sentence, I realized this is bad, since carbon monoxide makes you sleep. While still on the line, the Fireman tells me to go wake them, I run to their bedrooms. Thankfully, I was able to wake them up. Note: We have 2 Carbon Monoxide detectors and Smoke Detectors in every room in the house, since nothing seems to wake my kids when asleep. I was told to take them outside and the Fire Department was already on its way.

I sat my children outside and tried to explain to them what was happening and in a couple of minutes we would hear sirens. When the Fire Department arrived, two checked on my kids while three others, in full respiratory gear entered the house with their Carbon Monoxide detectors, but since I had opened the windows (second mistake), everything checked out fine, meaning they were not able to find the cause/reason for the detector sounding off. It would be a few weeks later, when the Carbon Monoxide detector would go into full alarm again, this time it was during the day and my husband was home. He determined a faulty dryer was the problem.

What I should have done that night the Carbon Monoxide Detector sounded: first wake your kids and take them outside, second phone your local Fire Department. Do not open windows because they will not be able to determine whether or not there is Carbon Monoxide in the air. Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer, you can’t smell it, you can’t see it, you can’t taste it. It makes you sleep until finally it takes your life.

In Canada, on November 3rd, 2013, Daylight Savings Time ends and we turn our clocks back an hour. This is also the date when we should be changing the batteries in both the Carbon Monoxide Detectors and our Smoke Alarms. If you have a Smoke Alarm that is hard-wired into your house you still need a battery operated one, because if the electricity is off, the hard-wired Smoke Alarm will NOT work.

Do you regularly change the batteries in your alarms?