Every year, Anchorage firefighters respond to nearly 500 carbon monoxide calls, according to Anchorage Fire Department Battalion Chief James Dennis.
He says it’s a common problem in Alaska.
Just a week ago, nine people in Houston were hospitalized from the gas, and the month before that, Hillside teen Trevor Noble lost his life from exposure in his family home.
In both cases, firefighters say CO detectors were in the homes, but not working.
Traci Johnson, who works with the Anchorage Home Builders Association (AHBA), says the group wants to help to prevent further tragedy.
“My daughter goes to school and had gone with Trevor, and so she knew him and was emotionally affected by that,” Johnson said.
On Monday, AHBA donated 500 carbon monoxide detectors to the Anchorage Fire Department. The detectors will be available for free at every local fire station, starting Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.
“That really helps us in a lot of ways because when people come pick up those CO detectors, we can also educate the public on how to install them, on what the hazards are with carbon monoxide,” Dennis said.
AFD crews say it’s vital every home is equipped, which is why they will keep detectors on the engines themselves.
“So that when we respond to 911 calls, whether they are CO-related or not, if we find that they don’t have a CO detector in their house, we can provide one for them,” Dennis explained.
The most recent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning had no idea the toxic gas was in their homes. Now, instead of waiting for an emergency, AFD hopes these free detectors will prevent the next one.
The department advises people to have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of their home. Firefighters remind everyone to test their carbon monoxide detector every six months and replace them every five to seven years.