In the past year, The Peoria Fire Department responded to almost 170 calls for carbon monoxide, 79 of them were actual leaks. And many people don't even have working CO detectors in their homes.
On Wednesday, the department installed alarms in Pearlene Bell's house.
"It's really important because that's something, that carbon monoxide is nothing to play with," she said.
Division Chief of Operations, Ed Olehy said people install them and then forget about them. He wants people to keep batteries fresh and replace old detectors, his department is even giving them out for free.
"without the detectors, you don't know, I mean you're in it every day wouldn't have a clue. So that's why it's so important the detectors are working," Olehy said.
Olehy said people should test their detectors every month. There should be a test button on each unit, and it will beep loudly if it's working. If there's a constant chirp that means carbon monoxide levels are too high, one chirp per minute means you need to replace the batteries.
Olehy said the way to combat the gas is to open up windows, but in the winter people seal up their houses, trapping it. He said there are always more calls once temperatures dip.
"On top of that people are using their furnaces this time of year and furnaces that aren't venting properly or have some incomplete combustion put off carbon monoxide," Olehy said.
And Bell said she's thankful, "It means it's protective of my life."
She's right. Carbon monoxide can cause brain damage and can even kill you. The gas is clear, you can't smell it and symptoms of poisoning are often mistaken for something else.
"You know weakness dizziness, nausea, all the same things associated with the flu. That's why it's misdiagnosed a lot of times, people think, oh I just don't feel good," Olehy said.
Not only can a carbon monoxide detector save your life, it's the law to have them inside your home.
The Illinois Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act was signed into law in 2007. So if you got a detector then, the fire department says it's probably time to replace it. There needs to be one on each floor, and within 15 feet of each bedroom. The life span of a CO detector is about five years, but make sure you always check the manufacturers label.