Last week, carbon monoxide claimed the life of a Wasilla woman after a gas water heater did not work properly. Now, Anchorage firefighters are reminding you to make sure your CO detectors are working properly.

"Well, having a CO detector in the home is very important," Robert Alvarado, a firefighter with the Anchorage Fire Department, said. 

The Centers for Disease Control says carbon monoxide kills just over 400 people a year around the country, while another 50,000 visit the emergency room due to accidental CO poisoning.

"Carbon monoxide, by nature, is a colorless, odorless gas," Alvarado said. "It could be home appliances that are related to gas and oil, so, it could be your stove, your oven, it could be your boiler, your furnace, even your hot water heater."

CO detectors come in various sizes, and prices, but cost doesn't have much to do with functionality, according to Alvarado.

"From the lowest price point to the highest price point, they're all going to serve their function," he said.

Reminding people about the need for CO detectors is not new. Still, firefighters say many people have not heard the message.

"This isn't something we see as frustrating, but, we see it as an opportunity to teach," Alvarado said.

He and other firefighters believe the more they teach the public about CO detectors, the safer they will become.

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, visit

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