|1/30/2020 3:14:00 PM|
It's that time of year again...
|Rick Ferguson, left, and William Sherk off-loaded several hundred CO detectors for Family Pathways to distribute through the food shelf operations. ‘Neighborhood helping neighbors’ is their unofficial motto for the carbon monoxide detector collection, where Neighborhood gathers donated detectors and brings them to Family Pathways so food shelf clients have access to the life saving devices. |
It’s that time of year when area heating, cooling, appliance and plumbing service company owner William Sherk gets to do his part to balance the universe, and push-back on the tragedy of carbon monoxide poisoning.
For several years, Sherk has been collecting and providing CO detectors for distribution through area food shelves.
This is personal, he explains. He was drawn to actively educate the public and provide detectors after his son Keith succumbed to what is believed to have been CO poisoning. Then, two Lindstrom residents lost their lives when the vent on their rooftop froze over. There was also an incident of a malfunction in an exhaust installed in a new North Branch home, that was only discovered when one of the adults from the home was detained on suspicion of driving under the influence, but it was CO poisoning.
Home detectors will sound an alarm when carbon monoxide approaches lethal levels. The ultra-lightweight gas can build up when vents or mechanisms are not exhausting to the outdoors correctly.
Sherk, whose livelihood is air quality--started out gathering detectors donated by employees of his company Neighborhood. He also tried purchasing returns out-of-the box from home improvement stores, but now relies mostly on corporations.
Last week the Press was on-hand as Sherk and Rick Ferguson delivered 720 detectors to Family Pathways. The non-profit organization provides detectors for their financially strapped clients-- who need detectors most and can least afford them. At $20 to $30 a piece, carbon monoxide detectors are not cheap.
Sherk thanks Honeywell, Rheem, Lennox, Home Depot Pro, and Pro Pumps for donating devices.
These units are powered by lifetime batteries, which Sherk says is key. He and Neighborhood staff often notice non-functioning detectors during service calls, as batteries either get taken out or go bad and aren’t replaced.
Franklin Outdoor, the billboard company, also gets kudos for placing carbon monoxide public service messages on electronic billboards in and around St Cloud.
Sherk says Family Pathways “...has been awesome to work with” and guesses about 1,500 detectors have gone out through this food shelf connection over the years. Sherk was being interviewed at the North Branch Food Shelf for a television news segment and was asked if he could guess how many lives have been saved through his efforts, to which Sherk responded “I hope one.”
Advice in general: have your furnace and any exhausting appliances checked annually.
If you fish in an ice house that has a heating unit, crack a window for ventilation.
Make sure flue or chimney outlets aren’t getting covered with blowing snow or ice.
Don’t let vehicles run inside of attached garages.
There are approximately 14 unintentional deaths annually in Minnesota from CO poisoning, according to the MN Dept. of Public Health. Those suffering from CO poisoning often feel like they have the flu, but there is no fever and no swollen throat sensation.
Carbon Monoxide detectors, like smoke alarms, are required within 10 feet of sleeping rooms by state law, because of the public health threat.