Carbon Monoxide Kills
Janelle Bertot, a Western High School graduate, was a pre-med student at Florida International University. Bertot, then 19, and Anthony "Tony" Perez, 25, of Miami, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2004 while inside a van that was running.
Bertot decided to create a foundation to promote awareness of carbon monoxide, known as the "silent killer" because it is a deadly colorless, odorless gas. It can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces and is found in "combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems," according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
Carbon monoxide can be particularly dangerous during hurricane season as a result of the use of portable generators.
About 175 guests attended the foundation's recent fundraising gala at the Broward County Police Benevolent Association in Dania Beach. As part of its mission, the foundation recently partnered with Kidde, a fire safety product manufacturer, to donate 72 battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms to Dania Beach to be installed in residents' homes and businesses.
The foundation also buys and distributes carbon monoxide detector kits that can be placed in automobiles, said Gisela Granado, Janelle's aunt.
Granado said that if she sees someone sitting in a running car with the windows up, she can't help but warn about the danger and hand them a kit.
"I'll tap on the window and share the story," said Granado, of Plantation.
Since its creation in 2005, the foundation has donated more than $35,000 in scholarships in memory of Janelle, who had aspired to be a pediatrician, her mother said.
"Janelle loved school and loved learning," Bertot said. "I want her legacy to be the exact way that she lived her life — living each day to its fullest, always trying to do good."
For more information, visit http://www.janelleswishingwell.org.