DETROIT (WWJ) — Carbon monoxide injuries are more common then people realize, and this time of year there is even more of a spike in these incidents.

The number of carbon monoxide incidents rise at this time of year because people begin using their furnaces or other appliances in the colder weather. There have already been two reported incidents in Michigan — both furnace related — this week. One at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, where a few workers felt sick, and the other at a home in Fenton, where the carbon monoxide detector went off and saved the family’s life.

Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd said the family in Fenton may not have been so lucky had they not had a carbon monoxide alarm.

“The Fenton family actually had their carbon monoxide alarm start going off and the mom thought it was malfunctioning,” Dodd said. “Took it down, changed the batteries and it started going off again so they called the fire department and there were levels of CO in the house.”

Within the last three years or so, over 800 people were unintentionally poisoned by carbon monoxide in Michigan and 34 of those individuals died.

This certain incident is a perfect example for how to handle a possible carbon monoxide leak. Dodd said getting an alarm could save your life like it did for this family in Fenton.

“It’s caused when appliances or equipment doesn’t operate correctly or isn’t vented correctly,” Dodd said. “The best thing you can do is buy an audible CO alarm. They are often now combined with smoke alarms, they are very inexpensive and that will alarm you if there is ever a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide in your house.”

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