May 30, 2023

Alarming News About Carbon Monoxide

Posted on October 29, 2010 by in Irvington, News

If your CO alarm goes off - GET OUT - quickly and safely!

Irvington resident, Charlotte Isler, tells us about her recent brush with a known killer.

It’s silent, deadly and lurks in the home while your family sleeps. Dubbed the “silent killer,” the colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-irritating, and poisonous gas – carbon monoxide (CO) – is very difficult for people to detect.

Here’s a letter we received from Irvington resident Charlotte Isler, that will make this threat all the more personal.

Last Tuesday evening, October 19th, 2010, our CO (carbon monoxide) detector went off about 9 PM. When we turned it over, it said: “If this alarm goes off, call 911.” So we did.

In short order, the Irvington Fire Deptartment arrived in full regalia, as did ConEd, a while later. They measured the CO content, and found high levels all over the house! We had to leave the house immediately, and just had time to open all the windows, and wait outside.

Next, the firemen and the ConEd man searched for the cause of the high CO levels. They found it about 1 1/2 hours later. It was an obstruction between the furnace and the chimney through which it vents.

They shut off the gas, and allowed us to go back inside only once their CO detectors had returned to 0. If we had not paid attention to the alarm, they told us, we would probably not have woken up the next morning – a sobering thought!

The firemen were wonderful, as was the ConEd man. I want to encourage people to install a CO alarm if they don’t already have one. It could save their lives as our alarm saved ours.

Charlotte Isler – Irvington

If you do have a CO detector, test and replace the battery in your CO alarm at least once a year. If your alarm is wired directly into your home’s electrical system, you should test it monthly. If your unit operates off of a battery, test the alarm monthly and replace the battery at least once a year.

CO kills 500 people each year and sends 20,000 more to the hospital, according to Underwriters Laboratories, an independent product safety certification organization. In the home, some common sources of CO include open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or running a car inside a garage.

What to do when your alarm goes off
If your CO alarm goes off – GET OUT – quickly and safely! Practice a CO safety drill with your family so everyone knows how to react to a CO alarm. If your alarm sounds, evacuate the building and call the fire department. If you or your loved ones experience symptoms of CO poisoning – headache, dizziness or other flu-like symptoms – seek medical attention immediately. And, when you return home, be sure to open windows and doors for ventilation. Then, call a qualified technician to inspect your appliances.

Be Aware of Other Warning Signs
Be alert, don’t get hurt! Streaks of carbon or soot around the service door of your fuel-burning appliances, moisture collecting on the windows and walls of furnace rooms and fallen soot from the fireplace or small amounts of water leaking from the base of the chimney are all signs of a CO problem in your home.

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