For Paul and Leona Jones of Volusia County, Florida, an oversight almost took the lives of the entire family. The culprit of it was the new, improved nearly silent car engines available these days. With the fancy push-button engines now on many cars on the market, new dangers are becoming apparent. The dangers may be new, but the silent killer–carbon monoxide poisoning–is not.
Having one of these cars myself, I can attest that physically not using my keys has come with adjustments. These vehicles do not require inserted keys to start the engine, but only to be in proximity to the vehicle–usually about 3 feet. It’s not uncommon to forget that the barely audible engine is running, since you aren’t grabbing your keys to turn it off. There is normally a fail-safe though, beeping if you wander out of the 3-foot range with your keys. But what if your car is tucked safely in your garage and you happen to feel safe enough to leave the keys in it?
One couple was so distracted upon arriving home one evening, this comfort almost cost them their lives.
On February 27th, 2019, they returned from a nice evening out, enjoying an early dinner. It was around 6 pm and storms had filled the sky with lightening, thunder and sheets of rain. The deafening sound of beating rain added an anxious urgency to those caught in the downpour. It was the type of storm that is best enjoyed from the safety and dryness of your home. This was the only thought on their minds when they finally pulled into their garage.
It was that sole focus that caused Leona to jump out of the car, forgetting to turn the engine off. Any minimal sound their car may have made was drowned out by the storm.
They went about the rest of their evening and finally settled comfortably in bed without a care in the world.
It was approximately 1:00 am when Paul was awoken by their tuxedo cat Bella crying desperately.
The feline was underneath their bed, meowing loudly while the effects of the gas were taking over her small body. Sleeping soundly, the poisonous gas had leaked into the home for almost 8 hours. It was lucky that Paul heard Bella at all. He was fortunately able to wake Leona in his woozy state.
Paul was reportedly so weak, even awake he could barely move. His love for his cat is strong however, because he used all his strength to pull her from under the mattress. Carefully, he set her on the bed with the last of his efforts before collapsing next to her.
While Paul’s struggles were taking the last of his energy, Leona was able to call 9-1-1. This too, took all the energy she was able to muster. Firefighters quickly rushed to the home finding the trio in dire conditions. Both humans and their tiny hero Bella were treated with oxygen. Paul and Leona were taken to the hospital for further examination as well.
Happily, the entire family will make full recoveries from the scare–all thanks to one amazing cat.
They know that if she hadn’t come meowing for them, none of them would be alive today. Now, they are taking extra precautions to ensure that nothing like that occurs again.
Carbon monoxide detectors have been installed in the home but after what they went through, they’re taking no chances. They’ve added a sign to their garage wall, right near the garage door button. It’s a clear reminder for them to make sure the car is off in the future.
It may seem like common sense, but life gets busy. Daily tasks are put on autopilot in our distracted minds. We rush through each day, filled with errands and wandering thoughts.
Everyone makes mistakes, but the Jones family are extremely fortunate and they know it. They’ve made sure Bella has lots of yummy food and treats to show her their gratitude. She may never realize what she’s done for them, but they know they own their lives to her.
According to the CDC, each year carbon monoxide kills approximately 400 people.
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
Please review the CDC’s list of “How can I prevent CO poisoning in my home?”, to ensure your family and home are protected! We’re not all lucky enough to have a “Bella” <3
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, MICROCHIP YOUR PETS & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Safety Product: Pet Alert Window/Door Stickers for Emergency Crews