December 19, 2009

A public service announcement. Really.

At 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning I woke up to Eric shouting for me to get the girls and go outside because the carbon monoxide alarm was going off. I plucked two very-asleep girls out of their beds, carried them downstairs, put on their coats and Uggs and put them in my car.

Eric called 911.

By the time I pulled my car out of the driveway two police cars had arrived. Then a fire engine and the fire chief's car and then another police car. They blocked off the street in a very dramatic made-for-TV moment.

I kept thinking there simply must just not be much going on in our town at 5:00 in the morning.

The firefighters went in our house and measured the carbon monoxide levels. I was meanwhile mentally chastising myself for leaving dishes in the sink and wrapping paper and ribbon all over the family room floor. Another fire engine arrived. The firefighters finally came out and told us the carbon monoxide levels in the house were really high, high enough that they had called an ambulance to come and evaluate the four of us. They thankfully didn't mention the dishes or the wrapping paper.

Kenna and Michal sang "Deck the Halls" to the paramedics as they listened to their hearts. Kenna kept asking one of the paramedics to sing with her. I just sat there feeling dizzy and wondering if it was the carbon monoxide or an aversion to being up at 5:00 a.m.

We thankfully didn't need to go to the hospital to spend time in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber which, in case you've ever wondered, is the treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.

The girls and I spent the day, without heat and with the windows open, waiting for the repairman to arrive. He came, three hours late, diagnosed the problem and left after telling us he was positive he knew what was wrong and would be back to fix it.

Exactly 30 minutes later the carbon monoxide alarms went off again.

We didn't call 911 this time. Instead, we opened all the windows and went out to dinner.

Repairman number two arrived shortly after we got home from dinner. He couldn't definitively find the problem but at least he didn't guess.

We slept with the heat off and the windows open. It snowed all night.

Repairman number three arrived in the morning. He showed promise when he started talking about things like "balancing air pressure" and "draft." Then he pulled out a highly-sophisticated carbon monoxide-measuring thing -- that's a technical term -- and found the problem in just minutes.

12 hours later we were the proud owners of a brand new boiler.

When the fire department was ready to leave our house the morning the whole thing began, the fire chief looked at Eric and said, "If you didn't have a carbon monoxide detector the outcome this morning could have been much, much different."

So all this to say, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your house and make sure they all are working. Stand up right now and go check the batteries. Truly, do it right now. I always thought a carbon monoxide detector was kind of silly.

I don't think that any more.

37 comments:

  1. I am so glad you are all ok.

    I going out to replace my broken one!!

    ~Michele

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  2. I am so thankful you and your family are okay!! How scary for you and Eric. But you girls singing "Deck the Halls" is so cute. Thank you for sharing your story to help others.

    Merry Christmas!
    Cindy

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  3. Kristi,

    I'm so happy to hear you and your family are okay. I'm sure this must have been one of the most harrowing experiences you and your family have had to endure. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  4. Thank goodness you are all ok!

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  5. Oh Kristi, how terrifying! I'm so glad you are all OK. Thank you for the public service announcement. I just checked our Carbon monoxide monitor and it wasn't working..Anne

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  6. Wow. That's really REALLY scary. So glad you guys are all okay and that you, at last, have your house back to normal! Can't imagine sleeping with the windows open in the middle of winter!
    LOTS to be thankful for this Christmas :)

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  7. Wow Kristi, I am so glad your family is okay. Thank you for the PSA.

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  8. So scary! We have one on each floor! I was told to get them b/c they may go off b/f smoke detectors if their is ever a fire! So glad that all is well!

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  9. Thank you!!!! I'm so glad you are all alright.

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  10. Anonymous7:31 AM

    we just had a natural gas explosion in a home in our town. the house is completely gone. the owners of the home were propelled 30 ft from their home and ended up with serious injuries. sadly they lost their teenage son who was sleeping in the basement. along with a carbon monoxide detector if you have natural gas in your home you should also have a gas detector.

    this occurance prompted me to have the gas company come to my home and do a check. i had 5 leaks! 2 of the leaks the gas company found and the other 3 the gas line repair company found. after the gas line repair company left i called the gas company to come and recheck, they asked me to do that, and they found 1 leak that had not been repaired. so the repair company came back out.

    thank you for your story, i've just checked my batteries. i'm so happy your family is safe. merry christmas.

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  11. Wow that is so very scary. Glad you are all safe and thankful for having both carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. Enjoy your holidays and keep on singing.

    Merry Christmas from Niagara-on-the-Lake
    and Shauna and MacLean xo

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  12. I am so glad you guys are alright. How scary. I don't have one....I am going to go buy one today.

    Merry Christmas.

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  13. Kristi,

    I am so glad you are all fine!!!! That s scary!!! We had a gas leak last year and I made a similar appeal to my readers and 2 people e-mialed me with stories of how it saved their lives. We did not have one on one floor and just last week I insisted Dave go get one.


    I had headaches and felt tired for weeks form that gas leak last year. I hope people heed your advice.

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  14. Kristi:
    In this season of thankfulness, I am so glad you are all safe and well. Another prayer of thanks this season!

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  15. I'm glad you are all fine. What a scare that must have been! Sorry about the no heat thing, BTDT.

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  16. I'm so glad you guys are OK. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm off to check mine right now.

    Hugs and Merry Christmas!
    Misty

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  17. Anonymous10:14 AM

    Wow!

    This is one of those posts that I wish you would post a few times during this season of cold, close all your windows weather. Really, please post this again in another week so every one of your vast number of readers has a chance to read it. I am sure that all of us will be grateful.

    Thank you!

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  18. So glad you're all okay!!! I don't know if we have one or not. When we lived in RI, it was mandatory in every house.

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  19. Oh, I'm so glad you are all ok! How frightening! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas with your beautiful girls!

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  20. Wow. That's the kind of excitement you don't want this time of year. What a relief that you had the alarms and acted quickly. Glad you all are safe.

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  21. That is so scary! It looks like some angels were watching out for you. Have a Merry Christmas!

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  22. Oh my goodness! So glad you are all okay! Glad to hear those detectors do work. Blessings, Wendy

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  23. Andrea L1:23 PM

    Wow, so glad everything turned out ok. We've had a carbon monoxide detector in our house for years -- great investment.

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  24. Thankful! Merry Christmas to your sweet family. I'm sure it will be a little sweeter now.

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  25. k1polzin5:37 PM

    AMEN to a safe & happy outcome!



    Kim Evans

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  26. I am sooooo you guys are all ok. It must have been so scary. God was trully watch over you.

    It was laughing about the dirty dishes comment. I did that one time (I swear!). I took LiLi out Trick or Treating and I left the dinner dishes. I was only gone for an hour!!! Don't ya know, that was the one night my house was broken into and the police came. As the cops were checking out the place, all I kept thinking was, "Why didn't I do the dish?!!!" So now I NEVER leave dishes in the sink for fear of "unexpected guest."

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  27. How scary!! So glad that you all are safe and no one had to spend any time in the chamber!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Hop that you all have a wonderful holiday season.

    Lisa

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  28. So glad to hear that you all are safe and sound. That same thing happened to my in-laws a few years ago. They DID NOT have a carbon monoxide detector, my brother smelled it! Our elderly grandmother had been having flu-like symptoms for days....If he had not smelled it, I'm not sure what would have happened.

    I'm off to check if we have them, our house is just a year old and I kind of took it for granted! Thanks for the warning!

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  29. Yikes, so glad you guys are all ok!!! We don't have carbon monoxide detectors. I'll be getting some immediately.

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  30. Please add that one of the side effects is that you are confused and unable to make rational decisions - once that alarm goes off you should not stop to think about calling 911, or doing anything, until you are breathing fresh air.

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  31. Anonymous10:04 PM

    At this super-busy time of year, and after all that you've done with your giveaway, how generous of you to take the time to share this with everyone. That's all I need to hear . . . we'll be buying two. Thank you!! Thank heavens you are all OK.

    Merry Christmas!
    Jennifer

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  32. So thankful that all is well. Yes we have one and it is working!!!!

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  33. OMG I am so grateful you all had alarms, that they worked, and thay you are all OK!!!
    And you convinced me, I am going to go buy carbon monoxide alarms today.
    I can just picture the girls singing, lol.

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  34. So scary, glad everyone is okay!!!

    We had the same thing happen last year and ours saved us too late at night.

    We spent a few days at the neighbors while the repair man figured it out!!

    Everyone needs to have one!!!!!

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  35. 18 months ago, the same thing happened to us except we were folding clean laundry in our living room including our underwear. We check our carbon monoxide and smoke detectors all the time. (We had a house burn down too.)

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  36. okay, I always thought they were kind of silly too. I will be going to buy some next week when we are back at our home. Thank you for sharing!

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  37. What a scary event! Thank God for watching over you and for the detector. Thank you for posting. So glad you are all okay.

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