By Mark Abrams

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the wake of some close calls for families in the past month, the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross is sounding the alert about the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors installed in living spaces.

Dave Schrader, spokesman for the local Red Cross, says the organization has responded to a handful of calls within the past month — the most recent one when carbon monoxide (“CO”) fumes chased a family from their home on Wednesday night in Coatesville (Chester County), Pa.

carbon monoxide With Rise of CO Poisoning Cases, Red Cross Urges Detectors For All HomesSchrader says that in many cases the problems are caused by malfunctioning heating systems.  But in some circumstances, he says, homeowners or renters unwittingly cause a carbon monoxide buildup by using a gas-powered electrical generator inside the home, or even employing a gas-fired oven as a heating source.

Schrader says a carbon monoxide detector is now just as important as a smoke detector for a home.

“Carbon monoxide is potentially fatal, and the thing that makes it so dangerous is because it is colorless and odorless,” Schrader says.  “You do not know that it’s building up in your home until potentially it’s too late.”

The Coatesville family of five was alerted to problems because they had a carbon monoxide detector.

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