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John Bisnar
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Propane Heaters – The Silent Killers

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Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed – Recall Demanded

Jarden Corp’s Coleman Co. unit, that manufactures outdoor recreation equipment, has been named in two lawsuits, which claim that the company’s propane heaters were responsible for five deaths in Washington state, according to a Bloomberg News report. Victims’ families say in the lawsuits that two people died while using the heater in a camper and three others died in a truck as the combination of propane use and lack of ventilation led to boosted levels of carbon monoxide, a gas that is odorless and invisible.

Most people have a misperception, as did the victims in this case, that it is safe to use heaters in indoor spaces, an attorney for the victims said.

According to the news report, the lawsuit demands that Jarden recall as many as 1 million Coleman heaters and pay monetary damages to the victims. Coleman no longer sells the heaters, which did not have sensors to detect low levels of oxygen.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides the following guidelines for outdoor enthusiasts to prevent them from being victims of carbon monoxide or as it is notoriously known, “the silent killer”:

· Use newer heaters equipped with Oxygen Depletion Sensors (ODS), which are intended for indoor use.
· Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for ventilation.
· Older generation heaters without an ODS are intended for outdoor use only and must never be used indoors.
· Do not use portable heaters that fail to meet the new standard in enclosed areas such as tents, campers, and other vehicles. This is especially important at high altitudes, where the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is increased.
· Do not keep camping heaters and lanterns on while sleeping.
· Charcoal grills, camping lanterns, and gas generators also can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. To heat an interior area while camping, only use a camping heater that meets the new safety standard.
· Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. Consumers who experience any of these symptoms should extinguish any possible source of carbon monoxide and move to an area with fresh air.
· Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Low blood oxygen levels can result in loss of consciousness and death. See a doctor if you or a member of your family develops cold or flu-like symptoms while camping. Carbon monoxide poisoning, which can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu, is often detected too late.
· Be aware that alcohol consumption and drug use increase the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Be aware that carbon monoxide is especially toxic to people with heart disease or blood or circulatory system problems, such as anemia. Fetuses, infants and the elderly are also more susceptible to poisoning.
· The surfaces of the heaters are extremely hot – always locate the heater away from traffic and combustible materials.

For more information about these and other defective products, visit the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

For a legal consultation in matters of defective products and severe injuries, call me.