Residents benefit from free detectors

Published 10:26 am Monday, December 19, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The Niles City and Niles Township Fire Departments and employees from Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse in Niles teamed up Saturday to make residents homes a bit safer as they passed out free carbon monoxide detectors.
Lowe's donated 110 carbon monoxide detectors.
Rieth then explained that dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can accumulate when as a result of poor installation, poor maintenance or failure or damage to an appliance in service or when rooms are poorly ventilated and the carbon monoxide is unable to escape.
Carbon monoxide poisons those who are exposed to it by entering the lungs via normal breathing and displaced oxygen from the bloodstream. Damaging levels can lead to breathing difficulties, impaired judgement and memory, damage to the nervous system, cardiac trauma, brain damage, coma and even death, Reith explained.
Carbon monoxide detectors are available at any home improvement store. Cunningham said they range from $27 for a basic one which looks like a common smoke detector.
Everyone is susceptible, but experts agree that unborn babies, young children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems are especially vulnerable and are at the highest risk for death or serious injury, he added.
Initial symptoms are similar to the flu with no fever. Dizziness, fatigue/weakness, throbbing headache, nausea, irregular breathing, sleepiness and confusion are all possible symptoms.
The detector should be installed within hearing range of sleeping areas, near fuel-burning appliances and near fireplaces. Avoid placing them within five feet of cooking or exhaust flues, near bathrooms with high humidity, behind obstructions which can block the flow of air and near ceiling fans or air ducts, Rieth added.