Let me tell you a tragic story. My good friend’s parents came home on a recent evening, parked their new car in the attached garage, and went to bed for the night. For some reason, they didn’t realize their car was still running. They were both killed by carbon monoxide poisoning while they slept in their bed that night. A $25 plug-in carbon monoxide alarm would have saved their lives.

You may think this could never happen to you, but, in the last few years, more than 100 people have been have been killed after leaving their car running in a garage. Some experts think the drivers forgot to turn off their car due to confusion associated with the newer keyless ignitions. But, the bigger picture is that 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning from heaters, stoves and other combustion sources. Another 20,000 go to the hospital.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible killer that is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not guarantee safety.

The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated or battery backup carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near each separate sleeping area in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall, and replace the detector every five years.

Don’t let your family become another carbon monoxide tragedy. Buy and install a carbon monoxide alarm this week.

DANIEL SULLIVAN

Drewry