Vivint Smart Home warns consumers of the increased risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning as many prepare to turn their furnaces on for the first time this winter season.

The months of December, January and February have the highest daily average of CO-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CO is an odorless, colorless gas produced when gasoline, natural gas, propane, kerosene and other fuels are not completely burned during use. Natural gas-powered appliances, such as ranges, furnaces and water heaters, are a common source of CO within the home. Each year, at least 430 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires and approximately 50,000 visit the emergency room, according to the CDC.

Vivint customers Jason and Kim Bennett learned the dangers of CO all too well when their furnace malfunctioned, leading to a near-fatal buildup of CO in their Orient, Ohio home. The Bennett family equipped their home with a Vivint smart home system just days before the incident.

“We returned home at 10 p.m. and armed our system, but suddenly the alarm started going off,” said Jason Bennett. “By the time I got downstairs, somebody was speaking to us from the Vivint console saying, ‘We’re getting high carbon monoxide readings, is everybody OK?’”

After consulting with the Bennett family, Vivint dispatched emergency services. When the fire department arrived, firefighters almost immediately detected extremely dangerous levels of CO and ordered the Bennetts and their three children to evacuate the home.

“If we hadn’t installed Vivint on Thursday night, none of us would have woken up Monday morning,” said Kim Bennett.

While installing an off-the-shelf CO detector is a positive step toward protecting lives from CO poisoning, the Bennett’s experience demonstrates the value of CO detectors that are part of a complete smart home system with 24/7 professional monitoring. The Vivint monitoring center receives approximately 5,500 CO alerts from customers each year. Employees in the monitoring center respond to medical, fire, flood, carbon monoxide and burglary alerts.

In addition to CO detectors, the CDC also suggests these tips for preventing CO poisoning in the home.

For more information on a Vivint smart home, visit www.vivint.com.