Beware of ‘The Silent Killer’

We all have heard the expression, “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries,” a very successful national campaign reminding everyone to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year when you change your clocks.

With the colder weather upon us, now is the time to discuss the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning otherwise known as “The Silent Killer.”

In fact, in August 2009 a law went into effect in New York State called “Amanda’s Law.”

The law is named after 16 year old Amanda Hansen of West Seneca, NY, who died on January 17, 2009, from a carbon monoxide leak from a defective residential boiler while sleeping at a friend’s house.

Carbon Monoxide can be produced when burning any type of fuel including natural gas, gasoline, charcoal, propane, kerosene, oil, wood or coal.

If any flammable material burns incompletely, carbon monoxide is produced.

It can kill in minutes or hours depending on the levels in the air.

The law mandates the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in all homes in New York State.

Specific information is available on the Department of State website at,html

Carbon poisoning symptoms are often mistaken for the flu and include nausea, confusion, dizziness and headache.

Besides making sure you have the correct amount of detectors, there are other things you can do to reduce the risk of CO poisoning:

  • Never leave a car running in a garage.
  • Have all heating systems including vents and chimneys checked and tested.
  • Never run a generator indoors.
  • Never use a gas oven to heat a home.
  • Never use a barbecue grill in a house or garage, only outdoors.

Carbon monoxide detectors are not substitutes for smoke detectors.

Both should be installed on every level of a home as well as outside all sleeping areas.

Residents with any questions can contact the Oswego Fire Department at 343-2161.

Have a safe and healthy winter season.