EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As heaters begin to rumble on in Rhode Island due to the arrival of cooler temperatures, fire marshals urge residents to check their carbon monoxide detectors.
Just an hour from the Rhode Island border in Wales, Mass., a person died Tuesday from a carbon monoxide leak their home.
“It’s colorless. It’s odorless. It’s tasteless,” East Providence Fire Marshal Kenneth Botelho said. “You can’t detect it so you have to rely on your carbon monoxide detector.”
Not only is it good advice, but Botelho says every home in the state is required to have one.
“All levels of your home,” he said. “Basement, first floor and second floor.”
In the last year alone, Rhode Island has had several carbon monoxide scares. At least 40 students and staff members at Cranston High School East reported feeling symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning last November.
In June, six people in Western Coventry were rushed to the hospital after a carbon monoxide leak at their home.
“If the residents of the home had just shrugged it off and went to sleep, they wouldn’t have woken up,” Western Coventry Fire Captain Robert Mann said at the time.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400 Americans die from it every year.
Botelho says they take it seriously in East Providence. On Wednesday, the department inspected carbon monoxide detectors in 190 apartments around the city.
“About 10 percent of what we inspected yesterday didn’t have the proper detection,” he said.
Botelho stressed that while it can be serious and deadly, carbon monoxide poison is very preventable.
“If you have the carbon monoxide detectors and it has batteries and they’re operating properly, you are completely safe,” he said.