Carbon monoxide detectors just as important as fire alarms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Carbon monoxide is odorless, invisible and deadly. Every year, hundreds of people die from accidental exposure. How can you keep your family safe?

Last week in Merrillville, a family of four died after trying to heat their home with a generator.

With winter on its way, firefighters and home care experts say it is a good time for families to test their alarms.

When temperatures fall, furnace technicians are busiest.

"We get an uptick in calls, because obviously you're using the furnace this time of the year," said David Hayes, General Manager of Home Comfort Experts.

Hayes says it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector - because it's odorless.

"You're not going to smell it, the only symptoms you're going to have is going to be you're feeling ill," said Hayes.

Every year, 500 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning.

There's an Indiana law requiring home smoke alarms, but there is no similar law for carbon monoxide detectors.

"People are not quite ready to accept them like they do with smoke alarms," said Federico Rodriguez, South Bend Fire Marshal.

Rodriguez says the number of homes with carbon monoxide detectors has increased over the years, but there are still many families going without them.

"You really don't want to risk your family's safety over a $19 carbon monoxide detector," said Hayes.

There are a number of carbon monoxide detectors on the market. If you can't afford one, some fire departments offer them for free.

Click here for more information about carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide detectors.

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