Vilma Perez, in 2011

Vilma Perez, in 2011 with a portrait of her late son, Anthony Perez, who died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. DANIEL BOCK Miami Herald File

By Rodolfo Roman (from Miami Herald February 9, 2017 5:44PM)
Special to the Miami Herald

Miami nonprofit Anthony’s Light Foundation and Blue Guard Technologies have developed a device installed in vehicles that can help detect and stop the emission of deadly carbon monoxide.

Vilma Perez, president of Anthony’s Light Foundation, said the device — coCO, carbon monoxide Car Off, a patent-pending poison prevention system — will save lives.

“We believe this makes a world of a difference because if you can save even one life, you are saving the world,” she said.

Perez founded the foundation after her son, Florida International University student Anthony Jason Perez, died at 25 in November 2004 of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, along with another FIU student, Janelle Bertot. Both were inside a minivan that had a leaky exhaust.

The foundation’s mission has been to raise awareness of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.​

The coCO is not only a detector — it also stops the gas by shutting off the vehicle’s engine upon detection of high levels of carbon monoxide in the vehicle’s cabin, said Kenneth R. Karlin, CEO of Blue Guard Technologies.

“We have been searching, literally for years, for a technology driven solution for preventing loss of life due to carbon monoxide poisoning in and by automobiles,” he said. “Blue Guard Technologies is the first company to design and manufacture products specifically for that purpose.”

Karlin added that every year close to 30,000 people in the United States are sickened by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and around 500 people die.

“Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless,” he said. “It cannot be detected by humans without the help of a detector.”

The device will also have a remote monitoring via a mobile app and alerts individuals by sending notifications of rising levels in the vehicle. It is also equipped with GPS tracking. The product is capable of detecting any form of carbon monoxide, whether from a car, portable generator or home heating system.

“The only way to protect oneself from carbon monoxide poisoning,” Perez said, “is to have a proactive solution that notifies you as well as shuts off the source before levels become too high and it’s too late to escape.”


coCO, carbon monoxide Car Off, isn’t available yet. The company is currently seeking funding to go into full production. Kenneth R. Karlin, CEO of Blue Guard Technologies, anticipates the retail price for the device will be $150 and can be preordered. For more information, visit

Anthony’s Light Foundation thanks Miami Herald for featuring us and helping in educating and promoting public awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.