Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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It’s hard to believe, but Carbon Monoxide kills more than 2,000 people nationwide every year. Cheryl Burt of Kimball, Minnesota knows this tragedy all too well. Twelve years ago she lost two of her sons to accidental Carbon Monoxide poisoning in her home.

As the temperatures continue to drop, you’ll be turning on your furnace, which is one of the appliances in your home that produces Carbon Monoxide.

The night of January 5, 1996 was a tragic night for Cheryl and her family. Her son Nicholas had just turned four years old two weeks before he died, and her son Zachary was 16 months. Both boys died in their beds while sleeping from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Their brother Ryan, who was five at the time, was sleeping in the bed right next to Nicholas and he survived but was severely poisoned. Cheryl, her husband and their Black Lab were also all severely poisoned by this silent killer.

Cheryl and her husband were both too poisoned to know that they were being poisoned. Cheryl knew she was getting sicker and sicker as the night went on, but she thought it was the flu. You can’t see, smell or taste Carbon Monoxide, but the initial symptoms of the poisoning mimic the flu. Carbon Monoxide alarms could have saved Cheryl’s sons lives.

Just two weeks before the poisoning, they had talked about getting alarms for Christmas. Cheryl Burt had the choice of buying a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm or the toy truck her son Zachary had wanted for his birthday. Years later, she still has the truck, but she lost her son - and his brother Nicholas- to CO poisoning.

"I should be raising a large family right now," said Burt, a Minnesota mother who lives with her surviving son Ryan. "Every day I have to live with my decision. I have to live with the fact that the loss of their lives was preventable by something as simple as a carbon monoxide alarm."

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