|CO alarm potentially saved students from poisoning|
|Written by Daniel Fox, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012 16:42|
Thanks to a carbon monoxide (CO) detector, nobody was injured in an incident that involved excess CO in a Normal home at 10:30 p.m in the 500 block of Broadway Street on Nov. 26.
The seven students had evacuated the home prior to the fire department’s arrival, Matt Swaney, Normal Fire Department fire inspector, and public information and education officer, said.
“Once the alarm went off, they waited outside for the fire department to arrive to check out the situation, so they were in fresh air and were not exposed to the CO,” he added.
The problem was caused by CO pumping directly into the basement, due to CO build up that was caused by the flue pipe from the hot water heat boiler becoming dislodged from the brick chimney of the home, Swaney said.
“This situation was a very lucky one. Had they not had a working CO alarm in the house, everyone would have been exposed to potentially lethal levels of carbon monoxide while they slept,” Fire Chief Mick Humer stated in a press release.
Because CO is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas, and that it is impossible to see, taste or smell, CO can be a silent and deadly threat.
“Carbon monoxide can kill you before you are aware it is in your home,” Swaney explained. “Carbon monoxide binds to the blood cells and progressively blocks oxygen from being absorbed and circulated throughout the body. Carbon monoxide can quickly lead to unconsciousness, organ failure and death.” Many people may mistake the symptoms of CO poisoning with those of seasonal illnesses. Somebody suffering from a cold or influenza may not recognize there is an issue with CO poisoning, Swaney said.
“Common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning include faulty furnaces, water heaters, wood-
Carbon Monoxide detectors are very effective, Swaney added.