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Carbon Monoxide Safety Information That You Should Know

 Latest News  Comments Off on Carbon Monoxide Safety Information That You Should Know
Feb 232016
 

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.50.41 PMOn Sunday afternoon, Orange Live reported that four residents were treated at the hospital for Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges the community to be aware of the important facts and safety information regarding Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat that people need to get informed about. 

By educating ourselves on the dangers of carbon monoxide, we can significantly reduce the health risk, as well as save lives.  So in response to many of the questions that the Fire Marshal’s Office has received, we have decided to include this article to help you and your families stay safe.

HOW DOES CARBON MONOXIDE HARM YOU?

Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed because it attaches to the hemoglobin, which is the part of the blood that carries the oxygen to the brain, heart, and other vital organs.  By attaching itself to the hemoglobin, the carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen, thus depriving your body of much needed oxygen.  Large amounts of carbon monoxide can overcome you in minutes without warning, causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE?

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is a product of combustion.  The carbon monoxide produced while using fuel-fired equipment is usually not harmful.  Normally, increased carbon monoxide levels in homes are caused by faulty heating equipment, poor maintenance of exhaust systems, or something as simple as allowing your vehicle to warm up in your garage during those cold winter days.  How can you reduce the opportunity for increased levels of carbon monoxide in your home?  It’s simple.  Follow these preventative measures to ensure your family will not suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • At the beginning of every heating season, be sure to have your fuel burning equipment such as your oil or gas fired furnaces, water heaters, oven ranges and stoves, clothes dryers, fire places and wood stoves inspected by certified technicians.
  • Have you flues and chimneys checked for any buildup of creosote or blockage of the chimney.
  • Be sure to maintain all your fuel-fired equipment as described by the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • NEVER leave your car running in an attached garage.  The vapors from the vehicle’s exhaust could increase the level of carbon monoxide in your home dramatically in a matter of minutes!
  • NEVER use a gas stove to heat your home in the event of a power failure or heating equipment failure.
  • NEVER use charcoal or propane grills indoors.  Not only does this pose an extreme carbon monoxide hazard, it is also a severe fire hazard as well.
  • Think safety first when considering the use of alternative heating, such as space heaters.  Make sure the space heater is far away from combustible materials at a minimum of three to four feet.  If using fuel fired space heaters, never sleep in a room without proper ventilation.  Make sure that all fuel-fired space heaters are equipped with oxygen depletion sensors.
  • Do not use gasoline-powered equipment in enclosed areas of the home.  Such engines create a mass amount of carbon monoxide.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors as you would smoke detectors.  It is recommended that you should have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home, as well as in all sleeping areas.  When installing your carbon monoxide detectors, be sure not to install them within five feet of any fuel burning equipment.  Make it a point to install these live saving alarms.  They will not work if they stay in the package on your workbench!

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Because carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, it is not always immediately evident when it has become a problem.  All too often, people who have mild or moderate problems with carbon monoxide will find they feel sick while they spend time at home. 

When venturing out into the fresh air, they will begin to feel much better, but will have re-occurring symptoms shortly after returning to their home.  People who are most susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide are infants, elderly residents, those family members who suffer from respiratory or heart disease, or anemia, and women who are pregnant must take special care.  However, nobody is immune to the effects of carbon monoxide.  Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include the following:

  • Physical Symptoms: Headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, joint pain, chronic fatigue, dizziness, numbness, tingling, vertigo
  • Cognitive/Memory Impairments: attention problems, multi-tasking problems, word-finding problems, short-term memory loss, verbal and/or visual deficits
  • Affective Disorders (Emotional/Personality Effects): irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation, temper, loss of interest, sleep disturbance
  • Sensory and Motor Disorders: blurred vision, double vision, buzzing in the ears, decreased coordination, speaking, eating, and swallowing disorders
  • Gross Neurological Disorders: Seizures, inability to speak, balance problems, tremors

WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF A CARBON MONOXIDE EMERGENCY:

Should you or a family member suspect that there may be an increased level of carbon monoxide in your home, or you have installed the recommended carbon monoxide alarms in your residence and they begin to go into alarm, follow these simple steps to help resolve the problem:

  • First and foremost, CALL 9-1-1!  This important step will allow trained first responders with the equipment needed to protect you and your family to investigate the possible presence of carbon monoxide.  DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THIS EMERGENCY NUMBER!  Many times, calls will be made directly to a volunteer firehouse, which will delay the response of emergency personnel.  After asking the caller why they did not decide to call 9-1-1, more often they state that they did not think this type of situation is what they would consider as an emergency that warranted such a call, when in reality it is!
  • Get any suspected victim into fresh air immediately!
  • If you can not get the victim out of the house, open all of the windows and doors to allow fresh air into the home.  Be sure to turn off any fuel-fired appliances.
  • Those persons who have been exposed to elevated levels of carbon monoxide should be taken to the closest hospital as soon as possible.  A simple blood test will determine the amount of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream.

Should you have any questions pertaining to this matter, you may contact the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office at (203) 891-4700.  The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office also has a website, which you can find information about this and many other fire related topics.  You can visit the website by going to www.orangefiremarshal.com.

Fire Marshal Tim Smith urges all residents to install a carbon monoxide detector in their home, and the Fire Marshal’s office gives them out for free. If you don’t have one, call the Smith at the number above to see if his office has any more available.

Volunteer Firefighters Respond to Two Calls After 9:30 p.m. On Sunday

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Aug 122013
 

Rescue 1 outside of Station 2

Rescue 1 outside of Station 2

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department was called out twice in 90 minutes on Sunday evening.

The first call came in at 9:39 p.m., when a police officer detected the odor of smoke on Oakview Drive.

Fire department officers also smelled smoke and searched the area for the source.

About 16 minutes after the call, the Chief released all the fire trucks to return to the stations.

Carbon Monoxide

An hour after closing the ticket, the firefighters were called out again at 11:01 p.m. for an activated residential carbon monoxide detector on Wildwood Drive.

Responding firefighters measured the C.O. at 140ppm  (parts per million) inside the home.

Any amount over 10 ppm indicates there is an unusual source for CO and the residents should get out of the home immediately.

One fire engine provided a large fan to help ventilate the house.

All crews were cleared to leave before 11:30 p.m. There was no indication that anyone was ill from the incident.

Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

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Dec 112012
 

The Orange Fire Department responded to a CO detector call on Saturday.

From the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office, a press release about the dangers of carbon monoxide originating from FEMA.

Each year in America, more than 150 people die from accidental non-fire related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning associated with consumer products. These products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces. Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

Understanding the Risk

What is carbon monoxide?
CO, often called “the silent killer,” is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It can be created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane or wood do not burn properly.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
CO poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness. Exposure to undetected high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.

CO Alarm Installation

  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, have CO alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Combination smoke-CO alarms must be installed in accordance with requirements for smoke alarms.
  • CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms and vice versa. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and the sound of CO alarms.

CO Alarms: Testing and Replacement

  • Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace them if they fail to respond correctly when tested. The sensors in CO alarms have a limited life. Replace the CO alarm according to manufacturer’s instructions or when the end-of-life signal sounds.
  • Know the difference between the sound of the CO alarm and the smoke alarm, and their low-battery signals. If the audible low battery signal sounds, replace the batteries or replace the device. If the CO alarm still sounds, get to a fresh air location and call 9-1-1 or the fire department.
  • To keep CO alarms working well, follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

CO Precautions

  • Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.
  • Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. The CO gas might kill people and pets.
  • When purchasing new heating and cooking equipment, select products tested and labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials. The CO gas might kill people and pets.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

If Your CO Alarm Sounds

  • Immediately move to a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window or door). Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window). Remain at a fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

 

The family in this case got out of their home and waited outside for firefighters to arrive.