Tonawanda News — In 2013, there were 114 calls to the North Tonawanda Fire Department for elevated levels of carbon monoxide, 23 of which Croop called “legitimate” and 91 of them related to equipment malfunctions. The department received 97 calls in 2012 related to carbon monoxide, with 77 of them due to alarm malfunctions.
But while Hazuda took precautions, and has since bolstered the home against the possibility of future dangers, many others risk death from carbon monoxide poisoning, which has no odor and often kills people exposed to the gas as they sleep.
“If it happened to us while we were sleeping we may not have gotten up,” she said.
Croop highlighted the recent efforts made by New York state officials to boost measures that ward off carbon monoxide poisoning through Amanda’s Law, named after a Buffalo teenager who perished in 2009 as she slept in a friend’s basement. The release of inordinate levels of the gas from a defective boiler was deemed the cause of her death.
A year later, in 2010, a state law was passed requiring carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in homes with fuel-burning appliances or an attached garage, while the National Fire Protection Association advises they be placed outside sleeping areas and replaced every five years.
Hazuda and her family have taken heed of that advice and in fact may have been the exception to the rule. She has since purchased three new CO detectors for each floor of the house, while there have been no signs of carbon monoxide over the last several weeks.
“I probably checked them five times a day at first. Now it’s once every other night,” she said.
But while the family looks at the incident as a near-death experience they also want to use it as a lesson learned, one they can pass on to others in the community.
“If it can happen to us it can happen to anyone,” Hazuda said. “If there’s no date on your detector get a new one.”