Cary Medical Center, recently wrapped up a year-long community education initiative aimed at helping Aroostook residents prevent and detect carbon monoxide poisoning.

Cary Medical Center

Through a grant provided by State Farm, and partnerships with local fire departments, this program provided education and resources on the dangers of carbon monoxide as well as home fire safety planning.

Through this program, Cary was able to provide 180 carbon monoxide detectors to area residents who did not have a working detector in their home. Fire Safety Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Singer installed most of the detectors in area homes.

“We are thrilled that this campaign met and exceeded our goals,” said Singer. “More people in the community are safer with this added level of protection, and more people have a better understanding and awareness of the danger of carbon monoxide.”

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced by burning any type of fuel – gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal. It cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, but can be deadly. The only safe way to detect unsafe levels of CO is with a CO detector.

While out in the community, Singer found that many residents thought their smoke detectors would also detect carbon monoxide. She also noted that many people were unaware that smoke and CO detectors need to be changed every 10 years.

“There are detectors that are combination, as in they can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, but most people only have smoke detectors in their homes,” said Singer. “We want people to know what they have in their homes and to get a CO detector if they don’t have one.”

Aroostook County has one of the lowest rates of CO detectors installed in homes and the highest rate of carbon monoxide poisoning hospitalizations in the state of Maine (source: Maine tracking network).

There were eight seminars held in Healthy You communities over the past eight months, and more than 114 people participated in the seminars. Cary Community Relations also participated in several community events, and provided information on carbon monoxide, fire safety, fire escape planning, and more.

This program was a continuation of the home fire safety training that was presented across the county last year. The program was successful in providing life-saving fire preparedness and planning information to more than 100 people. The program also provided fire escape ladders and installation training to more than 90 households.

Here are some facts and questions you should know:

  1. Carbon monoxide is the #invisiblekiller. Thousands die per year on average in the U.S. from CO poisoning. Do you have working CO alarms?
  2. Do you have working COalarms and know how often to test them? https://bit.ly/2D7wP9G
  3. A generator should be used outdoors only. CO kills within minutes.
  4. Called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless gas created when burning any type of fuel. Get a CO detector today. https://bit.ly/2D7wP9G
  5. It’s grilling season, don’t assume your charcoal is cool – never bring charcoal in your home after cooking.
  6. A smoke detector is not the same thing as a carbon monoxide detector. Do you know what you have in your home?

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