A nine-year-old girl is being hailed a hero for saving her whole family after a potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning incident.
After a powerful nor’easter swept through Brockton, Massachusetts, last month, about 500,000 thousand residences lost power, including Jayline Barbosa Brandão’s home.
Like many families, her parents relied on a generator to keep their house warm. They were without power for about three days after the storm and decided to use a generator to supply electricity.
Jayline was already in bed on October 28 when she heard her father screaming that her mother had lost consciousness. The young girl ran into her parents’ room shortly before her dad also passed out. The fourth-grader quickly grabbed her father’s iPhone, used his face to unlock it, and called 911.
“I heard my dad screaming and say my mom passed out,” the child told WFXT. “So, I unlocked it by using my dad’s face.”
They were eventually taken to a local hospital as a near-fatal amount of the poisonous, odorless gas from the generator leaked into their home. Thankfully, all five people were conscious as they were being transported—all thanks to Jayline’s quick thinking.
Firefighters measured the emission and said that it was at a whopping 1,000 parts per million. Levels that high can be fatal, depending on the length of exposure, per Boston 25 News.
According to The Consumer Products Safety Commission, individuals can experience disorientation, unconsciousness, and even death at sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm.
Generators should never be used inside a home, only outside and at least 20 feet away from a house.
Jayline’s family had used the borrowed generator only near the back door outside their home for only a few minutes, as it was too loud. The night they were poisoned, the family unplugged everything from it and brought it indoors to keep.
The family thought it was a safe place, but now they realize both locations were too close to the home.
Jayline’s mom, Marcelina Brandão, thought it was just a headache when she started feeling unwell.
“Then 2-3 minutes I didn’t feel anything after that,” she recalled. Then, she felt dizzy and nauseous before fainting.
Marcelina woke up in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and credited her quick-thinking daughter for saving their lives.
“Oh yes,” she said, “she did. I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t in the house.”
After dialing 911, Jayline brought her seven-year-old sister to a neighbor’s home to get help.
“She was so smart,” Marcelina said. “That was very scary. If it wasn’t (for) her to call right away, I don’t know what would have happened.”
According to The Consumer Products Safety Commission, about 170 people in the U.S. die from carbon monoxide poisoning from consumer products, including ranges, water heaters, room heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, portable generators, and charcoal burned in homes and other enclosed areas.
Many of those deaths happen after extreme weather events. About 20 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning were reported to the Brockton Fire Department in the aftermath of the nor’easter storm that swept through the area late last month.
The National Weather Service said that a backup generator should be placed at least 20 feet away from windows, doors, and vents and recommends that homes have working carbon monoxide detectors.
Marcelina said that she and her husband are doing better. Thankfully, her mom, Jayline, and their youngest daughter weren’t really affected by the deadly gas.
Check out the video below to learn more about Jayline’s life-saving actions.