By David Fleet
Brandon — On Jan. 14, the Brandon Fire Department responded to a call from a township resident after their carbon monoxide detector sounded. Upon arrival the crew used a specialized gas meter to investigate the source of the CO.
“They were able to determine that it was not a false alarm,” said Cpt. Billy Starr, Brandon Fire Department Captain/Medic and Fire Prevention Coordinator. “The cause was most likely a faulty boiler for the heating system. If the homeowner had not had a properly working detector, this incident could have resulted in them getting sick and/or dying without even knowing they had a problem.”
Over the years firefighters have discovered many bad appliances ranging from furnaces and hot water heaters to fireplaces and ovens, said Starr.
Carbon monoxide is called the ‘Silent Killer’ and it is often found in homes when gas appliances fail to work properly.
“It’s the silent killer since you can’t see, hear, taste, or smell the gas,” said Starr. “Without a properly working detector elevated levels of carbon monoxide will go undetected and lead to symptoms in homeowners such as nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, loss of consciousness and eventually death.”
Many homes have these types of detectors, but there is still a considerable amount that do not, he added.
“The same thing applies to carbon monoxide as smoke detectors, they need to be tested monthly and should be replaced every seven years.”
Carbon monoxide alarms are available in almost any variety store or online. They average cost is about $30 each. Each home should have a minimum of one on the main level and one per level of the home if budget allows.
“We do recommend purchasing one with a digital screen if available, this will allow easier investigation of an alarm,” he said. “Having these types of alarms and detectors in your home and working properly could literally mean the difference between life and death. Take a moment to check yours and ensure they are in proper working order and up to date. If assistance is needed or have any questions, please reach out to the Brandon Fire Department.”
BFD is a participant in the “MI Prevention Community Risk Reduction” statewide program in cooperation with the State of Michigan Bureau of Fire Services. This program has earmarked detectors and alarms for the fire department to assist high-risk residents with installation, having the goal of helping reduce fire deaths in the state of Michigan. Senior citizen or low-income resident, contact BFD at 248-627-4000 between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Captain Starr or Fire Marshall Wilton will provide a fire safety consultation and installation.
Resident that need assistance installing detectors or alarms you have purchased, the fire department can help with that also.
By David Fleet