IRVING, Texas and WALTHAM, Mass. - This year the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) honored one of their member companies for the life-saving efforts of a persistent salesman. John Dunton and Carol McKeen of Waltham, Mass. are alive today thanks to their decision to purchase a carbon monoxide (CO) detector from American Alarm and Communications, Inc., Arlington, Mass.
Dunton and his wife had no intention of purchasing a CO detector when they were talking to NBFAA member company American Alarm about a burglar alarm system, but due to the persuasion of Keith Creamer, the systems consultant, their lives were saved.
"Despite their skepticism, Keith convinced the homeowners it was in their best interest to have the CO system installed," said Wells Sampson, American Alarm's vice president.
Five months later, while the couple was asleep, their alarm system detected dangerous levels of the invisible, odorless and colorless gas. Within seconds of the alarm, the company called, and within minutes, the fire department arrived and found lethal gas levels in the home. It was later determined that their oil furnace was the source, even though the furnace was functioning properly. Over time, tiles lining the chimney had loosened and fallen, until the flue was blocked causing the deadly gas to build up.
"I've owned four homes, and never had a carbon monoxide detector, but it has proven to be a lifesaver," Dunton said. After the incident, Dunton and his wife were quick to make sure their friends and family were made aware of this silent killer. And in a letter to Creamer, Dunton thanked him for "assuring our system was complete in every respect. You literally saved our lives."
According to industry statistics, more than 200 to 300 deaths and injuries a year are due to CO poisoning and many people are still unfamiliar with the signs of this dangerous gas also known as the silent killer. Because the gas enters the body through breathing, CO poisoning can be confused with flu-like symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses including shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches.