Thread: How do you handle CO alarm?
10-25-2002, 12:17 PM #1
How do you handle CO alarm?
Ok, you receive a call for a CO alarm at a residence around 9:30pm on a Wednesday in October. You arrive and find a 3 story wood structure about 10 years old. Vehicle in the driveway (engine hood is cold), outside porch light on, and what looks like a glow from a nightlight on second floor. Doors and windows are locked, no one answers door. PD reports no contact has been made with resident's through alarm monitoring company.
What would your normal vehicle response be? (engines,trucks,ems, etc)
How would you next proceed?
Been to a few of these and just wondering how others handle these calls. Just thought I would throw one out here for discussion."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
10-25-2002, 12:32 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2001
- 'Tween the Mississippi & St Croix
Normally our dispatch would page an officer for whichever station's area the residence is in. PD would also respond. Dispatch would coordinate with the alarm company - if any - and attempt to call the residents.
The final call on the up-response would rest with the officer.
Many departments in our area send a first-alarm response for ALL smoke and/or CO detector alarms, resident or alarm company reported.
Hope this helps,
Jim Mc Carthy, RN/C, FF/EMT
NEVER FORGET 09/11/01 and our fallen brothers!
10-25-2002, 12:44 PM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
So Bones, you would assume the family is in the home? A car is there, the time of day, lights on etc. The porch light is a kicker. I am figuring you received this call through an alarm company, like we receive fa's. I would start looking at a full alarm as I wouldn't be able to rule out the family is home and possibly incapicitated. Originally our alarm would bring in truck1, with the combustible gas meter. Upon not gaining any contact with the residents, it would be elevated to a first alarm, 3 engines, truck on scene, als and bls units.
10-25-2002, 01:12 PM #4
10-25-2002, 01:25 PM #5
Single engine with BC or HAZMAT with gas meter. For GODS sake, educate 911/ dispatch center not to tell them to open all the windows.
I didnt see anything about gas appliances/ heat, but since they have a CO detector I suppose they do.
10-25-2002, 01:29 PM #6
Engine, Rescue, and Truck
- then maybe we'll worry about checking CO levels.
10-25-2002, 02:16 PM #7
Is this a three-story, single-family home? Most, if not all of our three story wood frame buildings, and we have a ton of them, are occupied by at least three or more families. Nine thirty at night is pretty early to expect everyone to be at home and in bed. Our initial response would be a single ladder company with a CO monitor.
Is there an audible alarm sounding? Is there an odor of natural gas present? If this is a multi family home, I would check with the residents of the other floors to first, find out if they are OK and second, find out if the person in the apartment is usually home at that time. If the home belongs to one family, I would check with neighbors to find out if they know the routines of the home owners or if they have any other cars that are not in the driveway. Many people leave lights on while not at home to give the appearance that someone is home.
Forcing entry is a tough call. There could have been a CO leak in house all summer long but as long as the person left the windows open, the alarm may not have activated. This could have been the first night that required the windows to be closed. It could have also been the first time that the heat came on, causing a CO problem. I think that I would need to be familiar with the area before making that determination. For what ever reason, there is always someone at home in a three decker and I would be able to speak with that person first.
10-25-2002, 03:08 PM #8
3 words, and oh so true. 10 points.Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
10-25-2002, 03:48 PM #9
- Join Date
- Oct 1999
- Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas
our response is simple. send what we got. which would be our engine, tanker, rescue van and chief. upon arrival and finding all doors and windows locked. request a deputy to come out and break glass. start interior search with all groups in SCBAs and hopefully if we get it by this time a CO monitor. have one team go and turn off gas to house. if patients found, radio command on how many and status and get some ambulances there. also before breaking glass check with a neighbor to see if they know anything.
this is simalar to what we ran back a few years ago in the DFW area. there was a church lock in and several patients were knocked unconscious by CO during the night. i think about 12 patients were transported to the hospitals.NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.
10-25-2002, 04:05 PM #10
More detailsIs this a three-story, single-family home? Is there an audible alarm sounding? Is there an odor of natural gas present?
For the record, PD would be on scene first, we would send 2 engines, and a BLS unit would be dispatched also. 9:30 at night, could be passed out, with no more information from neighbors, we would break glass and enter."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
10-26-2002, 05:39 AM #11
In our area I have yet to hear that CO detectors are being monitored by a private alarm company. All of our cases here are from someone who has a detector going off that they call us about. If the person complains of feeling ill it is 1 enigine with the monitor code 3 and the medic unit also code 3. If the person doesnt have a medical complaint it is 1 unit with the monitor ,and in most instances one chief would be going on this response either way. Obviously if you think there is a threat to life, as Dal says " Glass is cheap" .......IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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10-26-2002, 06:55 PM #12
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- Oneida county
Lets see in my area we have never had a security monitor with co cababilities so I will go with a call in from the home owner scenerio.
All members would responde to the station except for the closes chief.
Our rescue would then responde first and our engine second. We have all forcible entry tools , ems , Co detector and scbas on rescue. Engine respondes with additional manpower and scbas. If no answer as you say , we notify dispatch that we need law enforcement and that we are going to be forceing entry. Make entry and call for a ambulance. Remove all patients and then fid the problem.Everything that I post is my opinion only, none of this should be taken as fact.
10-27-2002, 12:04 PM #13
I'm a dispatcher and we also do not get calls from private alarm companies about CO activations. All the FD's I dispatch for will only take an engine with a meter. If we have people with symptoms then an ALS goes with the engine (we don't have any BLS) and it's up to the FD to bring additional apparatus if they feel it's necessary. If forced entry is needed then the police will respond as well.
10-28-2002, 09:51 AM #14
Most newly installed alarm systems in my area are now including CO detectors/monitoring as part of the package."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
10-29-2002, 12:54 AM #15
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
We got 'em too...........
Most alarm companies around here do CO alarms, along with fire, holdup, medical, panic, etc. On quite a few of our calls, we are about halfway there, and the alarm company calls back and says the proper code has come in so we may cancel. Our standard response to an automatic alarm of any kind is first engine, first truck or squad. If there is a report of people ill, a BLS ambulance is added, also a chief. Additional info from dispatch is passed to the ranking officer responding so that additional resources may be alerted. Stay Safe....Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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10-31-2002, 07:01 AM #16
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Florence KY
In our area, unless we know that people are feeling ill, we generally send a single engine on CO alarms. Given the scenario, if the alarm company has contacted the resident(s), and we could not get them to come to the door, we would have the alarm company recontact the occupant to come to the door for us. If they don't, glass is cheap, and forcible entry would be required due to the possibility that there is a CO problem, and the occupants might be incapacitated.
For general CO alarms, we turn on the hot water to get the water heater to fire up, crank up the furnace, and then any other gas appliances to check for any CO output into the residence.
Hope this helps!
10-31-2002, 09:27 AM #17
Woodbridge, NJ -- A deadly tragedy in New Jersey left four people dead. The victims, who were all related, were found dead in their Woodbridge home because of what police say was likely a malfunctioning heating system that may have filled the home with carbon monoxide. The bodies were not discovered until Monday. David Ushery reports from Woodbridge with details.
Autopsy results are still pending, but the prosecutor's investigators say they've seen enough to draw some preliminary conclusions. It is, of course, a sad and unexpected end for the members of a family that has lived here in the Woodbridge house for decades.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is believed to have claimed four adult members of the DiNapoli family in their home on Joanna Place, in Woodbridge.
Bill D'Arcy, Neighbor: "They've been in the neighborhood since at least 1960. I graduated with one of their sons, that apparently has passed. It's shocked everybody around here."
Shirley Lupardi, Neighbor: "This is a very family oriented neighborhood. We're all close-knit. We all do things together. It's just sad to see something like this in your own town."
Neighbors say they had not seen members of the DiNapoli family since last Thursday, but that did not cause immediate concern.
Robert Parkhill, Neighbor: "They were at their house, the mother and father, they were over at the house and that was the last they seen of them. And I believe they were supposed to go up to Pennsylvania for the weekend..."
But when emergency personnel descended on the home Monday morning, concerned neighbors started wondering what was wrong. Police say four bodies were discovered, apparently by relatives, and detectives quickly spotted the trouble.
Mayor Frank Pelzman, Woodbridge: "The preliminary indications are it was a faulty furnace, yes." Reporter: "And threw off carbon monoxide?" Mayor Pelzman: "That is correct. They are presently going through, now checking to see if there is blockage in the furnace, and what type of blockage it is."
The mayor also said officials are investigating whether the chimney was blocked as well, compounding the problem.
06-22-2004, 09:15 PM #18
Digging up an old thread
I decided to dig up an old thread so that some of our new members can chime in. In addition to how a department might respond to a CO alarm, I'm curious as to what levels you consider dangerous.
Currently, the official SOP in my department says that less than 35 ppm isn't considered an elevated level. Levels 35-49 ppm are labeled "potentially dangerous" and levels 100 ppm and up are called "potentially lethal."
When does your department require SCBA? I believe that ours is at 35 ppm, but that doesn't always happen depending on what crew is working. I know that my own crew has operating in a house with 40-50 ppm levels without SCBA.
06-23-2004, 01:26 AM #19
Just a thought: Shouldn't the alarm activate before levels reach high enough to incapacitate someone? Anyway...
No medical symptoms: engine responds normal traffic
Medical Symptoms present: Rescue rolls first, engine follows.
The CO alarm tied into the security system is a new one to me. Good idea.
06-23-2004, 09:34 AM #20
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
To be honest with you, I am not sure how we do handle a CO Alarm. AS you can imagine we get very dew here in the deep south and since I have only been here for one winter ..... guess I'll have to ask but I beleive it's a normal code 3 response.
AS far as the volunteer department I left in Vermont (where we got many more)..... the dispatcher is supposed to ask if anyone is feeling ill.
If anyone is feeling ill it's a code 3 response from the closest two stations (3 station department) and EMS responds with one ambulance code 3. If nobody is feeling ill its a code 1 response from the closest station only and somebody responds from the Central station with a backup CO moniter (all 3 stations have one .. it's our policy to use 2 moniters on all investigations to verify readings).
06-23-2004, 09:39 AM #21
Alarm no symptoms,an engine,a ladder and the ambulance plus a Chief and Safety.Alarm with symptoms,full desk box,2 engines,ladder,heavy rescue,ambulance,2 chiefs plus Safety division.Around here most of the time you can access the upper level somewhere without breaking anything(unlocked).If you're going in,you're on air until the building has been monitored and cleared.T.C.
06-23-2004, 10:05 AM #22
I've been gathering up materials to re-vamp our SOPs, kinda a slow backburner issue though.
Things to check is the CSPC's guideline http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA04/os/Resident.pdf
Basically for residences:
<30 ppm = normal
30-70 ppm = elevated, but not immediately dangerous.
>70 ppm = evacuation is warranted until source is found, fixed/stopped, and levels reduced.
50ppm is the OSHA 8 hour exposure level -- 8 hours, no respirator is permissible.
Were I'm eventually heading with our SOPs:
While respirators are always something for the OIC to consider, their use isn't strongly indicated until:
1) You anticipate being in a moderate (50 ppm) environment for more than a few hours
2) You're in a fairly high environment (200 ppm) for more than a few minutes
3) You're doing strenous work in even moderate concentrations (i.e. victim removal)
4) You have multiple non-ambulatory patients. If you have more than one person who can't move on their own...that's a highly unusual situation and should be handled with more care than say a house with one "sick person" and several non-ill occupants.
Basically, use common sense. If the CO alarm is going off and people are up and moving in the house, you don't need to be on air unless you find something to indicate otherwise. If you have a house with four people unconcious in it, I don't care what your meter says, wear an airpack at least and more PPE if the situation indicates that something else is going on here.IACOJ Canine Officer
06-23-2004, 10:17 AM #23
Dal, your last paragraph makes too much sense to be a SOP. We tend to base whether we are on air or not by the copometers. If their face does not match their uniform, we don't normally go on air. All FF's that enter the building will have SCBA on but not on air.
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