Editors Blog

Taking Care of Business: CO Poisoning Kills Sisters, Why?

June 16, 2008
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Two sisters, ages 29 and 25, died last week in Ohio, victims of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. They went to check on a home that one had just purchased and had been using a gas generator to keep a sump pump running in the basement. Apparently the build-up of CO from the unvented generator quickly overcame them and they could not escape.

One of the sisters had three children under the age of six. I debated this topic with some industry professionals who I often visit with at Dan Holohan’s “Wall” (www.heatinghelp.com). And many came to the conclusion that the sisters were ultimately to blame for their own deaths. They should have known better because placing a gas generator in an unvented area is something everyone should recognize as a no-no.

That is flawed logic.

Even if the generator manufacturer had warning labels on the product, is that enough to warn someone who knows little, if anything, about CO? Should friends or family have known better and warned the women of the imminent danger they faced?

In other words, should the old saying of “being your brother’s keeper” apply in this case?

I emphatically say, YES.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of all of us to educate and warn the public - through constant bombardment of information as well as new warning devices from manufacturers.

How about fluorescent orange coloring with warnings in big block letters on a permanent tag affixed to the generator?

How about all of us showing our moral responsibility so that little children don’t lose their mother?
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Sisters CO poisioning

Vic Brost
June 16, 2008
Any one over the age of 18 years and at least an eigth grade education should have an awareness of CO dangers. Having said that, perhaps a verbal and written warning should be give before a gas station is allowed to fill a container with fuel.

Right on Vic

June 16, 2008
I agree with Vic. How about a little personal responsibility? I feel bad for the kids, but adults should know better.

Keep trying

John R. Hall
June 18, 2008
At some point people need to ask themselves, "Have we done everything we could do?" to provide adequate warnings and education. After that, it is the individual's responsibility. I don't think we've answered that question yet.

It's not my fault...

Steve Russell
June 18, 2008
Sadly, people make mistakes and kill themselves. However, it doesn't matter how big or bright a label is, it will not keep people who do not read instructions and labels from doing foolish things. I recenlty bought a chain saw- it had 6 pages of warnings, cautions, and dangers before the first instruction of the saw. It also had it in 4 languanges. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think things are getting a little out of hand. Be my brother's keeper, yes; my brother's guardian, maybe not. Why not let adults be responsible for their own actions? It is not the place of the government or a manufacturer to make this world idiot proof and totally safe.



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