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Close Call Shows Need For Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The London Fire Department says an incident at a home in Oakridge shows just how important it is to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector.

As it prepares to launch this year’s “Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week,” the fire department says it was called to a home in an Oakridge subdivision last Thursday night. A home owner’s CO monitor alerted them to the possible presence of carbon monoxide in their home.

Thinking the unit was faulty, the home owner bought a new one and brought it home. As soon as it was installed, it sounded its alarm.

Firefighters responded and, wearing masks and air tanks, went into the home to discover carbon monoxide levels of 155 parts per million. According to the fire department, eight hours of exposure to that level of contamination can be fatal.

“Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer,” says Deputy Fire Chief Brian McLaughlin. “The law states that if a dwelling has any fuel burning appliance such as a gas furnace, water heater, stove, or wood fireplace, there needs to be a carbon monoxide alarm located near every sleeping area. The same applies if your home has an attached garage because motor vehicle exhaust containing carbon monoxide can enter the living areas of the house.”

When a CO alarm goes off, the fire department says residents should immediately get outside and call 911.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from November 1-7 this year, to coincide with the arrival of the home heating season.

The fire department is hoping to educate the public of the dangers of carbon monoxide. It says CO cannot be identified by any of the body’s senses and its a person’s symptoms of contamination are often confused with those of the flu.