A survey of residential carbon monoxide detector utilization among Connecticut Emergency Department patients.
ABSTRACT The use of carbon monoxide detectors may prevent deaths due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Currently, there is limited data regarding the characteristics of residential carbon monoxide detector use.
To determine the characteristics of residential carbon monoxide detector use.
A survey was administered to a convenience, cross-sectional sample of Emergency Department patients between June and August 2011. Inclusion criteria included patients who were older than 18 years, able to understand written or spoken English or Spanish, and lived in independent residential settings. Survey questions assessed the presence or absence of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors within the participant's home, the frequency of regular battery changes for both devices, location of carbon monoxide detectors within the home, and reasons for not installing carbon monoxide detectors (if applicable). Correlations between racial background, geographical area of residence (urban versus suburban), and income were also assessed.
A total of 1030 patients were surveyed. While 97.8% of respondents reported smoke detector use, only 44.4% had home carbon monoxide detectors installed. Only 17.2% had carbon monoxide detectors installed in or near their sleeping area, the correct location for detector placement. Carbon monoxide detector usage was found to be lowest among households earning less than $25,999 per year (27.3% reported having detectors), non-Caucasians (only 42.0% of African-Americans and 24.7% of Hispanics surveyed reported using detectors compared with 57.8% of Caucasians), renters, and urban residents. Reasons given for not having a carbon monoxide detector varied; many answers were consistent with a lack of awareness of the importance of using carbon monoxide detectors.
Residential carbon monoxide detectors were underutilized compared to smoke detectors. Increased public education, especially for minorities and lower income populations, is necessary regarding the use of carbon monoxide detectors for poisoning prevention.
- Journal of toxicology. Clinical toxicology 02/1999; 37(7):885-90.
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ABSTRACT: Unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning causes approximately 2100 deaths in the United States per year, but the use of CO detectors could potentially prevent many of these deaths. To describe the epidemiology of potentially preventable unintentional CO poisoning deaths in New Mexico. Descriptive analysis. A total of 136 deaths from CO poisoning investigated by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, 1980 through 1995. Characteristics of deaths from CO poisoning; estimates of the number of deaths potentially preventable with CO detectors. Of 136 people whose deaths were classified as "unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, not fire related," 49 (36%) most likely were asleep when poisoned. Thirty-nine (49%) of 80 people whose deaths were identified as "residential fatalities" most likely were asleep vs 10 (18%) of 56 of those whose deaths were identified as occurring in or around motor vehicles. A blood-alcohol level greater than 0.01% was present in 56 (42%) of the decedents. Among decedents who had a negative blood-alcohol level (52 in residences and 26 in vehicles), an electronic audible CO detector may have prevented CO poisoning; whereas, among those who had a negative blood-alcohol level and most likely were awake at the time of CO exposure (28 in residences and 23 in vehicles), an electronic detector or a nonaudible, chemical reagent type detector may have prevented CO poisoning. Differences exist between deaths due to unintentional CO poisoning that occur in residences and those that occur in or around motor vehicles. Carbon monoxide detectors, whether the electronic or chemical reagent types, may have prevented approximately half of these deaths. The high proportion of decedents with alcohol in their blood indicates that effective public health campaigns must address the role of alcohol in CO poisoning deaths.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 04/1998; 279(9):685-7. · 29.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Carbon monoxide (CO) is responsible for more poisoning fatalities each year than any other toxic agent. The often insidious nature of the symptom progression and its ability to imitate many common illnesses may result in the failure to diagnose a potentially fatal outcome. CO detectors equipped with an audible alarm can alert potential victims of CO poisoning before toxic sequelae develop. A study was conducted in which all calls to 911 concerning a CO detector in alarm or regarding possible CO poisoning were investigated by a paramedic crew; 101 possible CO exposures were investigated. CO detectors with audible alarms were the genesis of 59.4% of the calls. Detectable CO levels were found in 69.3% of the investigations, and 80% of the homes with detectors had verifiable CO concentrations. The mean CO concentration in homes with detectors was 18.6 ppm, compared with 96.6 ppm when no detector was available; 63.4% of the victims with no alarm were symptomatic, compared with 13.3% of victims with alarms. CO detectors with audible alarms were effective in alerting the potential victims of CO poisoning to its presence. Persons with CO detectors were less likely to become symptomatic from a CO exposure than those who did not have CO detectors.American Journal of Emergency Medicine 10/1996; 14(5):484-6. · 1.70 Impact Factor