Firefighting

RESPONDING TO CO DETECTOR ACTIVATORS

Issue 1 and Volume 149.

BY FRANK C. MONTAGNA Carbon monoxide (CO), a potential killer, is produced by all fuel-burning appliances in the home. Until recently, there was no sure method of warning of dangerous levels present in the home. Now, readily available and affordable carbon monoxide detectors routinely provide such a warning and have been credited with saving lives. It appears that the problem has been solved. Why, then, are fire departments across the country so concerned about the carbon monoxide issue? INCREASED WORKLOAD FOR FIRE DEPARTMENTS With the solution to the carbon monoxide threat in homes came an increased workload for fire departments. When the detectors alarm as carbon monoxide builds up in the home, homeowners call the fire department, in accordance with manufacturers` instructions included with the detector. In December 1994, the Chicago (IL) Fire Department responded to 1,851 carbon monoxide detector alarms in a 24-hour period.1 This occurred during a thermal…

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