A recent tragedy occurred in Geona Township, Ohio when four members of the Reitter family died after a faulty water heater released carbon monoxide into their home.

According to local investigators, the water heater was similar to a model that was part of a recent product recall by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Preventing tragedies in the future

Unfortunately, tragedies like this are not isolated events. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year more than 50,000 people visit emergency departments and 2,000 die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The CDC provides the following safety tips to protect homeowners from carbon monoxide poisoning:

  1. Turn off your car – Leaving a vehicle running in an enclosed space allows the gas to fill the air and poison vehicle and home occupants. If you park in a garage, make sure to leave the garage door open while your vehicle is running.
  2. Maintain appliances and heating system(s) – Make sure to perform routine maintenance on your heating system, water heaters and any other fuel-burning appliances. Over time, appliance parts can become worn and potentially release carbon monoxide gas into your home.
  3. Keep an eye on space heaters – If you use space heaters during the winter months, do not leave them on overnight or when an adult is not in the room to monitor it.
  4. Move your grill outdoors – Move your grill out of your garage. Doing so prevents deadly fumes from coming indoors, especially carbon monoxide.
  5. Know the warning signs – Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas – making it difficult to detect and protect yourself from. It’s critical, therefore, to understand the early warning signs of exposure. Headaches, fatigue, blurred vision and nausea are all common symptoms experienced by individuals who are suffering carbon monoxide exposure. If you or members of your family come down with these symptoms, exit your home immediately and visit your doctor.

Vigilance and following the tips referenced above can help keep you and your family safe from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. If you or a family member suffered harm, injury or death from a dangerous or defective product or appliance, it is important to understand your legal rights. An attorney who handles matters related to product liability can provide the answers, options and guidance you need.