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JC woman says she narrowly escaped death by carbon monoxide, her crusade to help you at home

JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — A Johnson City woman says she narrowly escaped death after carbon monoxide levels in her home were more than 30 times the normal level.

Meryl Deemie started turning on the heat here and there a few weeks ago.

After heading to work one Monday, however, she ended up in the hospital with a headache, nausea and blurred vision.

“My son Greg had said to me in the emergency room, ‘Mom how’s your carbon monoxide monitor?’ And I said, ‘It’s fine.'”

Deemie was released with no firm diagnosis for her sickness when her other son decided to check her home’s carbon monoxide level.

“Steve came up from the cellar and with a look on his face like you wouldn’t believe, and I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ and he said, ‘Well your carbon monoxide level is supposed to be less than 100, yours is over 3,000.'”

She said had they not checked, “I would be dead today if it weren’t for my sons.”

Not only was her carbon monoxide detector faulty when she thought it was working, but her furnace needed total replacement.

“Tomorrow almost didn’t come for me because I didn’t check my furnace,” she said.

Now, Deemie is on a mission to save others from what she says almost killed her.

She wants you to check both your furnace and your carbon monoxide detector.

Broome County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator, Raymond Serowik, says Deemie’s advice is spot on.

He says detectors should be checked every month, and your heating system should be checked before the heating season.

Serowik adds you should make sure your heating system vents are all clear, because if there is a clog, “that carbon monoxide can back up into the living space and cause poisoning.”

He emphasizes this as we head into winter when vents can become blocked by snow.

More tips for safe heating from Serowik include:

  • Do not run your vehicle in the garage, even with a door open
  • Emergency generators (like portable ones) should be used outside, far from your home, not inside your garage where fumes can accumulate
  • Never use cooking equipment for heating

Serowik says symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fogginess in thinking, nausea, vomiting and feeling run down or weak.

Julia Gorman

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