Detectors can help to prevent the 400 deaths that occur every year from CO poisoning, but only if you remember to keep them working
Daylight Savings Time ended last weekend. That means along with setting the clocks back one hour, you should have changed the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector. And if you don't have a carbon monoxide detector, it's a good time to buy one. It might save your life.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that's odorless as well as colorless. Without a detector, there's no way to tell that it's building up until it's too late.
Some carbon monoxide is produced whenever fuel is burned. Outdoors, it can disperse. Indoors, it doesn't and can build up to toxic levels when fuel burning appliances malfunction. A faulty heater was behind the CO poisoning death of tennis player Vitas Guerulaitis. Many poisonings occur during power outages, when people use gasoline-powered generators or burn other fuels inside the house that they normally don't, such as charcoal or wood. The CDC estimates that over 400 people die a year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Detectors can prevent these deaths, but only if people remember to change the batteries and keep them working. And just as people forget their keys, they forget to change the batteries. So changing them when you set the clocks back in the fall and ahead in the spring is an easy way to take care of that problem.