When we lose community members too soon | Editorial

Life is precious. This is not a new adage, but when two young people in our community pass away, it brings this message home.

Kelli Ashcraft, 21, and Troy Sullivan, 31, died tragically due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

We urge islanders to be sensitive during this time. It’s easy to whisper about this incident in the checkout line at the grocery store or in the aisles of the hardware store, but remember you don’t know who is listening. The ears of their loved ones are everywhere, and speculation about a young person’s death is not what they need to hear at this time.

Hold the ones you love close to you every day. We urge you to gather in support of those who are grieving right now. These cliches may seem like old news, but this week they ring more true than ever to us.

We also want to take a moment to recommend that you purchase a carbon monoxide monitor for your home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”

You can visit www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm to learn about how to prevent CO poisoning in your home or other spaces.

Protect yourself, your home and your loved ones.

Carbon Monoxide facts from the CDC

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, or “CO,” is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.

Where is CO found?

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

Who is at risk from CO poisoning?

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO.