Dallas, TX (June 11, 2009) – When Deb Makowski left her home for work, she could not have foreseen the impending danger that might have quietly taken her daughter’s life. Due to wintery conditions, carbon monoxide began to fill Ms. Makowski’s home as her daughter lay resting in bed. As the emergency situation developed, neither Ms. Makowski nor her daughter were able to detect the danger in their home, but they did not need to because Brink’s Home Security did.
As the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States, carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas produced by many common household appliances. When not properly ventilated, carbon monoxide can easily build up over time, causing serious injury and possibly death. The US Center for Disease Control estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives each year, and is also responsible for over 15,000 emergency room visits.
When Ms. Makowski’s home began to fill with carbon monoxide emitted from her heater, her monitored home alarm system went to work. Detecting a significant rise in CO levels, the carbon monoxide detector sent a signal to the Brink’s Home Security monitoring station and monitoring operator Cindy Satterlee. Satterlee quickly contacted the home to verify the emergency. With no response at the residence, Satterlee contacted Ms. Makowski’s mobile phone and notified her of the emergency situation. When informed that Ms. Makowski’s daughter was home alone, Satterlee contacted local emergency services to request an emergency dispatch. Within minutes, emergency crews arrived at Ms. Makowski’s home to find her daughter unconscious with carbon monoxide poisoning. Emergency personnel rushed her to the hospital to begin oxygen treatments, and her life was saved.
In honor of this quick emergency response by Satterlee and Brink’s Home Security, the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) has presented Brink’s Home Security with the 2009 First Line of Defense Award. The First Line of Defense Award, presented annually by the NBFAA, was instituted to publicize emergency response success stories and to provide consumers with an awareness of the value of alarm systems.
“I am extremely grateful to all of the Brink’s employees who went above and beyond to help me and my family during this time,” stated Makowski. “Not only did they help coordinate everything once the alarm was received, they even called me back later that day to make sure that everything was alright. Brink’s Home Security saved my daughter’s life and I will never be able to repay them for that.”
The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) recommends the following safety tips for protection against carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Install CO alarms outside each sleeping area of the home and on each floor of the home. For greater protection, connect the CO alarms throughout the home so that when one activates, they all activate.
• Adhere to all manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions for installation.
• Identify and store all local emergency contact numbers for a CO alarm emergency. Program these numbers in your cell phone as well, in case you are not at home when an alarm activates.
• Test monthly and confirm that each CO alarm is operating properly to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• If the CO alarm activates, immediately relocate everyone in the home to a safe location outdoors, or move into an open doorway that leads outside.
• Call for help only from a safe location, and remain in the safe location until emergency personnel arrive.
• Never start and run an automobile in an enclosed area such as a garage. Simply opening a garage door is NOT sufficient ventilation.
• In the event of a large snowstorm, ensure that all exterior dryer, furnace and/or stove vents are clear of any debris or packed snow.
• A gas-powered generator should only be used in a well-ventilated outdoor location.
• Never operate gas or charcoal grills indoors. Use in only outdoor manufacturer recommended locations.
Unlike smoke which can be detected by sight and smell, carbon monoxide can fill a home without any warning. Installing a monitored carbon monoxide detector in your home not only gives you peace of mind, it could also be your first line of defense.