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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.

Sep 302012
 

Orange Volunteer Firefighters ventilate a home on Grannis Road.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Orange Volunteer Fire Department was busy traveling from point to point across town, responding to calls for activated smoke alarms, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

After steam from a shower set off a smoke detector and smoke from cooking caused another alarm to go off, firefighters received a call on Grannis Road around 12:30 p.m.

The two story home was occupied by an elderly couple and three dogs, the chilly fall-like temperatures led them to light a fire in the fireplace to warm the house a bit.

According to Fire Marshal Tim Smith the damper in the fireplace was broken and although the homeowner opened it before lighting the fire , the flue was actually closed and the house began to fill with smoke.

“The smoke alarm did its job and went off, alerting the fire department before the residents even had a chance to dial the phone,” he said. “There was a high carbon monoxide level inside the house when firefighters arrived and Medic 33 was called to evaluate the occupants.”

No one, human or canine was injured in this incident.

The Volunteer firefighters used large fans to ventilate the home and checked for CO levels throughout the house to make sure it was safe for the family before they returned to the fire stations.

Sep 142012
 

A file photo from the simulator company.

Each year, hundreds of visitors check out the smoke trailer on display in the Orange Volunteer Fire Department’s area of the Orange Country Fair.

The trailer fills up with theatrical smoke and a representative from the fire marshal’s office teaches children and adults how to react and save themselves in a smoke-filled room.

This weekend there will be no smoke trailer, but Fire Marshal Tim Smith is confident everyone will enjoy the virtual fire extinguisher training simulator.

Many people have fire extinguishers in their homes — the question is, do they know how to use one?

Even firefighters have to learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher, and as part of the fire marshal’s public education duties, the virtual fire extinguisher simulator will make their job quite a bit easier.

“We’ll be able to teach the proper technique without having to build a fire in a barrel,” Smith said. “This equipment can go anywhere, schools, the community center, library, public events, and it’s perfectly safe and very effective and there’s no mess associated with chemical extinguishers.”

There is more to using a fire extinguisher than pointing it and pulling the trigger. One must know how to aim and sweep the extinguisher in order to put out a fire.

Smith explained that the realistic digital flames respond like an actual fire would.

“If you aim and sweep properly, the flames react and go lower, as would a real fire,” he said. “But if you aren’t hitting it right, the flames shoot up again.”

The trainer can choose a class A, B, or C fire at different levels of difficulty and the trainees must pay attention and change their technique accordingly.

For example, “when set to Class B, the flames quickly flash back up if the trainee doesn’t sweep quickly enough. Class A fires are more likely to rekindle after the initial extinguishment,” according to the company website.

So look for the fire department/police department/CERT/Emergency Management corner and have some fun with fire extinguishers and maybe even learn a new skill.

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