Here on the east coast, soon we will be entering the colder months. As the cold settles in the furnaces will come on, and with this comes potential carbon monoxide (CO) issues. When a 911 call comes in for a CO alarm in my county a unit that carries a 4 gas meter is dispatched. There are times that a call comes in for a sick person and only an ambulance is dispatched. Fortunately all our units have passive CO meters on their EMS bags. These small meters are always on and will alert when reading of 35ppm is detected. These meters are not too expensive and there are many makes and models to choose from. Having these small meters is a layer of protection for something you can’t see or smell. Other jurisdictions carry these meters on their portable radios. This configuration allows one to continually meter any building they walk into.
Last year an ambulance for my county was dispatched for a sick person. As the crews entered the house the passive CO meter alerted. One of the crew members walked out of the house thinking there was an issue with the meter. The alarm stopped alerting and the crew member re-entered the house and the meter alerted again. At this point the wife of the victim stated she also was not feeling well. Both residents were moved from the residence and placed on O2. The ambulance attendant quickly called for a medic and a ladder truck for a CO emergency. The ladder truck arrives and quickly entered the house in full PPE and SCBA and conducted a search. Their 4 gas meter read 200ppm. The gas was controlled, and the crew ventilated the house. The cause was a clogged vent stack to the gas furnace. Both victims were transported to the hospital.
These small meters work. Do some research and shop around. Consider adding these meters to your inventory, and who knows these meters may save the life of a resident ore even one of our own.
Thanks to BC Phil Bird of the PGFD for the photo of the Air Space meter.