1. #1
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    Default Staffing for Response to CO Alarms

    My department recieves numerous CO alarm calls from residences, especially during the winter heating season. We are talking about 50-100 per year. Our current SOP is to send one person in the utility pick up without PPE to check with the 4 gas monitor. We do not send a piece of fire apparatus per say. Now the majority of the time these are false calls and our SOP is pretty good about spelling out the procedure once on scene, like taking the baseline reading outside in fresh air and monitoring as you enter the structure. My conerns are probably obvious, although nothing has happened yet, i feel this is a serious safety issue. The majority of the department is very complacent about these calls and think it is ok for 1 person to respond w/o any PPE or back up. The likely situation i see is a CO response and upon arrival a citzen being down in the house needing rescue and or one of our personnel going down from CO once inside the structre and knowone ever knowing. Now, i know that a CO situation is an IDLH atmosphere and would require 2 in 2 out, my departmetns plan is if a positive reading is found, then an engine would respond. I guess to me this is a very reactive response. I am in need of some ammo to try and change this. Just looking for other perspectives and how other departments do things.

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    We roll an engine company to CO calls.

    Unfortunately... one of the first things people do when their CO detectors go off is to open their windows and doors... then they call the FD.

    By the time we arrive, the home has ventilated itself of the CO. We arrive to find normal readings, if any.

    We have to educate people to leave the home, keep everything close up and call us from the neighbor's home or a cell. We can find the source of the CO and then advise them of their options.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    The response for a CO alarm around here is generally a medic unit (BLS or ALS, doesn't matter) and an engine, or rescue, or rescue-engine.

    All personelle have airpacks on, but not necessarily on air unless we receive information that there is reported illness related to the alarm.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

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    Our Dispatchers ask if there are any symptoms present. If there are none, one person takes a buggy and checks it out in non-emergency mode. If there are symptoms, we send an engine and am ambulance.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Typical response for a CO alarm with no symptoms is a single unit response (engine or ladder or whoever's first due it is), non-emergency traffic. However if symptoms are present, it all depends of possible # of patients as to how many units respond, but it will be an engine and/or ladder with medic units running emergency traffic. As a general rule, we do not split our crews. You live together, you eat together, you train together, and you work together.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    We respond with 1 engine company, non-emergency traffic unless the residents aren't feeling well. If that is the case, then we step it up and call for an EMS unit.

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    Our gas meters are on our engines so one engine responds along with a medic.

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    For a call with no symptoms we roll a single engine co., full PPE (including packs not on air unless we get high enough readings). If symptoms are reported we send the engine, ladder, and medics. Dispatch is supposed to advise the occupants to meet us outside the structure leaving the doors and windows closed so we can find the source.

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    for us it a non emergent response with the engine and the meter,if no one is ill. If there is someone ill them the Medic goes with the engine code 3.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    OK We roll our engine to all co calls. We will approach the residence and see if the people are ok. Then proceed to check the home in full ppe. One tip is look for sleeping animals a good sign of a problem. I dont understand why these calls are considered non emergency. For one you dont know if there is a problem till you are on the scene. For 2 what is causeing the co problem , if it is a furnace malfunction u also pose a threat of fire. Just because the caller feels fine does that mean that lil lon the 2 yr just fell asleep in the playroom without any help. I dont know but I dont think I want to take that risk.
    Stay Safe and live long

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    Our Fire Co responds with 1 ENG and a crew of 3. We had a call for a medical assist and it turned out to be a CO reason.. 1 dead 3 sick we were doing CPR on pt for up to 1/2 hr in house with levels over 120 ppm. CO calls are taking too lightly we respond with min of turn out pants on. We now have one member on medical calls wear a CO detector. Not taking any chances Nor should your Depart.

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    Like many of the previous posters, my department sends our single engine company non-emergency for a CO alarm with no reports of illness. If illness is reported, we respond lights & sirens and request an ambulance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfdtim11
    For one you dont know if there is a problem till you are on the scene.
    We live in a world that is driven by statistics. What percentage of your CO runs are true emergencies once you arrive? 5%? 10%? Is it worth risking yourself, your crew, and civilians for what is reported as a CO alarm going off, with the residents saying they feel fine? If they are saying there is no chief complaint of illness, where is the medical emergency?

    For 2 what is causeing the co problem, if it is a furnace malfunction u also pose a threat of fire. Just because the caller feels fine does that mean that lil lon the 2 yr just fell asleep in the playroom without any help. I dont know but I dont think I want to take that risk.
    At automatic fire alarms, we also run the risk of pulling up to a fire. Many areas are instituting policies that the first due unit will go lights and sirens and the others proceed non emergency. Why? Because statistically the amount of false alarms vs the amount of true emergencies has a great difference between the two.

    Also, if they are calling for a CO emergency, the dispatcher should be telling the people to get outside of the house. I don't know any parent that would be leaving their 2 year old inside the residence.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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    Lets see there is no reason you should be putting anyone at risk from the community or in your vehicle when responding to any call. The driver should be using caution no matter what. Also not every 911 dispatcher gives the caller information. We have been to houses with smoke in the home and people eating breakfast in the kitchen. There are many people that take a co alarm to lightly. Especially the home owners. I just feel that when a 911 call goes out for any reason that could be a true emergency we should always be responding as if it is an emergency. Im not saying drive 80 mph to a wires down or flooded basement just do your best to get there and help the person out. They didnt call 911 to see one guy in a car and a white hat caome and say everything is fine.
    Stay Safe and live long

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfdtim11
    Lets see there is no reason you should be putting anyone at risk from the community or in your vehicle when responding to any call. The driver should be using caution no matter what. Also not every 911 dispatcher gives the caller information. We have been to houses with smoke in the home and people eating breakfast in the kitchen. There are many people that take a co alarm to lightly. Especially the home owners. I just feel that when a 911 call goes out for any reason that could be a true emergency we should always be responding as if it is an emergency. Im not saying drive 80 mph to a wires down or flooded basement just do your best to get there and help the person out. They didnt call 911 to see one guy in a car and a white hat caome and say everything is fine.
    this has got to be one of the most misguided statements I have EVER heard.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
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    OK what parts make me miguided. I stated mostly facts from expereince. Where ther when we had the basement full of smake and the man and his wife were sitting eating McDonalds breakfast in the kitchen. NOPE!!!!!!!!!
    Stay Safe and live long

  17. #17
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    We run one company to these alarm's. But I like that your dept. only send's one firefighter in a pickup, and that you guy's dont take your company's out on these run's. It save's money and mile's on your company truck.

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    Unless the dispatcher receives info that indicates the people are ill, or there is reason to suspect illness (caller confused, states everyone else is asleep, etc), we send a CO monitor equipped Rescue Co of 3 FFs. 95% of these calls-and we do answer the phones ourselves on these quite often-come from someone who has a detector that is sounding intermittently(mostly dying batteries), or has a display showing a low PPM count. If there is the slightest reason to believe that a life threatening emergency exists, the closest Engine Co(ALS), Rescue, and an ambulance are sent emergency status. You can also expect a cop or two. We have had some last minute saves, and some that we were called too late.

    We have also had EMS runs that turned out to be CO related, fortunately we weren't in the home long enough for more than a headache. We tried carrying CO alarms in our EMS bags, they weren't very reliable and couldn't take the beating.

    On a sidenote, as if it's not obvious, remember to keep a CO alarm in the firehouse as well. We had a near miss a few years ago in the station when the furnace malfunctioned overnight. There was a detector, but it was in the dayroom, not the dorm. Now we have them in every room.

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