“Cook Up” Some Purpose This Holiday by Protecting Your Family Against CO Poisoning

My name is Elizabeth Bryan, and I am a stay-at-home, working mom. I’m also the co-author/co-inventor of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings” book and family game, and I am excited to be around the corner from another family game launch with Franklin Covey, called “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.”

Living Proof

I am especially grateful to create games inspired by such wonderful material, because I get to help families everywhere spend connected, fun family time together. I am also extremely grateful for carbon monoxide detectors. If they didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be here sharing these wonderful projects. I also wouldn’t be able to educate moms everywhere about the importance of having detectors in your home. In fact, my children wouldn’t be here either.

It was nearly a decade ago in freezing cold Manhattan, when a workman disconnected our First Alert CO detector because he thought the alarm beeping meant that the batteries needed changing. The batteries were fine, and we nearly died. Ironically, the symptoms of CO poisoning mimic the flu, so not even our doctor properly diagnosed the reason we all felt so sick. People think things like this can’t happen to them, but my family is living proof (emphasis on “living”) that it can and does happen with much more frequency than you’d think. Because of this, I have made it my mission to raise awareness about the many risks in our daily lives as moms where CO can poison or even tragically kill our loved ones.

Just last winter, two little beautiful little Oakhurst, California girls died along with their grandmother and uncle, because they were struggling to pay their heating bill and were using an old, faulty generator. According to their teachers, 10-year-old Alexis Montoya was “never without a smile,” and her 8-year-old sister Jayden “loved to draw hearts.” Then, there was the Lofgren family from Denver – Parker and his wife Caroline, 10-year-old Owen and 8-year-old Sophie, who won a weekend getaway to an estate in Aspen. What started as their dream vacation ended in their deaths when the hot water and snow melting system in the house mal-functioned.

Number one cause of accidental poisoning

While carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the country, most of us are completely unaware of the multiple sources of the deadly gas. Appliances like the stove, furnace, hot water heater, blocked chimney or flu or a car left running in an attached garage – even with the door open – can release CO into our homes. During holiday, we’re cooking up a storm, our fireplaces are blazing, and we’re entertaining for hours on end with the windows sealed shut. While CO poisoning is year-round threat, I am urging all of you to take extra precautions during the winter and install detectors.

Nearly losing my life and my entire family turned up my gratitude meter one-thousand fold. It also gave me a great realization – while there are so many things out of our control in this life, dying from CO is not one of them. As women and moms, we are empowered when we protect ourselves and our loved ones. Since First Alert detectors can be purchased at Lowes or Target or Sears or ACE for as little as $19.99, I always say this purchase just might be “the most inexpensive way to prevent a death.”

I believe that every human being on this planet, including you, has a great purpose. Each one of us impacts others in some way, big or small. I am grateful to be alive to share my story, the hopes that you will take every measure to keep your family safe in every way you can. What bigger purpose can we have as moms than protecting our families? That action in itself is changing the world, as you never know the impact your life or your children’s will have on others. Don’t wait – buy a CO detector today!

Written by Guest Contributor, Elizabeth Bryan. To read Elziabeth’s full story and become even more empowered and educated with safety tips, visit http://www.firstalert.com/elizabeth_bryan.


  1. says

    Thank you for sharing. We live in an apt, I don’t think we have that issue but from time to time I leave my burners running and the apt starts smelling like gas. I should definitely be more careful. Also probably should fix the smoke detector! G-d certainly was involved in this one!

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