Public Safety Officials Stressing Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

HYANNIS – After carbon monoxide claimed the lives of a father and his nine-year-old son in Acushnet last week, public safety officials are offering a number of reminders in an effort to avoid a similar tragedy.

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colorless and odorless gas that’s the byproduct of anything that burns fossil fuels, and since 2006, carbon monoxide detectors have been mandated for all homes in Massachusetts.

However while carbon monoxide detectors save lives, regimented maintenance for equipment such as furnaces is something that should not be ignored.

“It’s very important for people to have their central heating units or devices professionally maintained as well to make sure they’re operating in top condition, and that vents or chimneys aren’t blocked by something that happened during the summer while that was shut off” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.

In addition, whether it’s a furnace, generator or even the car in the garage, safety officials warn that it’s also important to use common sense.

“You want to make sure that you use devices properly,” Ostroskey said. “You want to keep them away from openings in the structure that can allow the exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide to enter a building.”

While tragedy struck Southeastern Massachusetts with the deaths of 41-year-old Joseph Lopes and his nine-year-old son Collin in Acushnet due to a malfunctioning furnace and a lack of carbon monoxide detectors in the home, on the very same day a Mashpee family was saved because of carbon monoxide alarms.

“It’s important to make sure you have working CO alarms on every level of the home and within ten feet of bedrooms,” Ostroskey said. “We want everyone to keep warm and keep safe.”   

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