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We kid a lot about the recent “winter storm effects” in Dallas, TX, but just a bit to North of us it’s serious business.  People have been without power for a week or more in parts of Oklahoma, and every time this sort of situation pops up, people die.

What’s truly sad is that many of these deaths are due to carbon monoxide poisoning — people asphyxiating themselves by trying to heat or power their homes through unusual methods.  Some of the most foolish methods — like dragging a charcoal grill indoors — can be avoided with common sense.  But for those of us not used to heating our houses the oldest-fashioned way, there’s still a risk.

The easiest way to avoid dying in your sleep from CO is to simply purchase a small, portable, CO alarm like the one pictured above.  It’ll give you a chance to get outside and figure out what happened.

There are dozens of these on the market, both personal/portable versions like the one pictured and permanent-mount units, which are often available as combination fire alarms/CO alarms.  (I replaced my standard fire alarms with these outside the attic where my gas heater resides.  Better safe than sorry.)  The benefit of portability is that you could stick it in your pocket while gassing portable generators and such — a number of deaths this year came from this task.

This one operates for quite some time on a single 9V battery, and could’ve saved most of the lives lost in the last few weeks — for $50 lousy dollars.

Come to think of it, why doesn’t FEMA hand these suckers out in Oklahoma instead of just going door-to-door with a freakin’ survey?

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One Response to Finds: Costar’s Personal Carbon Monoxide Alarm

  1. Cool idea, but what’s with the picture of the folks running on the beach? Are they expecting to encounter a big cloud of CO in the ocean breeze? Or are they joyously fleeing a malfunctioning kerosene heater that was flung at them by a mutant jellyfish? Packaging designers, I swear…

    Anyway, having a CO detector is a seriously good idea. My brother lives in Buffalo, where the mid-October storm dumped snow on trees that still had leaves on them, which weighed them down and brought down power lines all over the place. They were without electricity for a week. Luckily, he had a portable power pack with an inverter, and was able to run the AC-powered CO detector from that, to make sure the gas stove was burning clean as they ran it 24/7.

    A few weeks ago, I was at REI Outfitters when an RV-owning couple asked the clerk for affordale propane-powered heater options. It was decided that, whatever system they went with, a battery-powered CO detector would be the smartest thing they could install in the RV. Putting one in my car probably would’ve forced me to fix that exhaust leak sooner, too.

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