Firefighters stress importance of carbon monoxide detectors

Credit: Deren Martinez / KTVB

Firefighters stress importance of carbon monoxide detectors


by Karen Zatkulak

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBKaren


Posted on October 14, 2013 at 9:08 AM

MERIDIAN -- As the temperatures drop and we turn up our furnaces and heaters, we are also turning up the chance of a carbon monoxide leak.

That's why Meridian firefighters want to remind everyone about the importance of detectors.

Almost a year ago, young marine McQuen Forbush was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning inside a Meridian apartment.

It was a tragic reminder that the deadly gas can easily leak into your home, without you knowing.

Deputy Chief Perry Palmer says they get about 50 calls a year concerning possible carbon monoxide leaks.

"You can't smell it, you can't taste it, you can't see it," said Palmer.

And says it's a danger that's growing as homes are built better, and inside air circulates less.

"As the homes become more energy efficient, they become a lot tighter, so the air exchange is less," said Palmer.

Palmer says using gas-fueled appliances means the risk is there.

"If you have a furnace or hot water heater or even stove or fireplace that is gas fired, if they are not working properly they can build up carbon monoxide in the home," said Palmer.

But there are signs if there's a problem and potential leak, like making sure the flame on your stove is blue.

"If that were to be yellow or there was soot coming off of it that means it's not burning properly," said Palmer.

Palmer says a carbon monoxide detector is the only real way to know if there's a leak inside your home.

But there are many types that alert you differently, and Palmer stresses the need to read the instructions for your device. If it does goes off, call 911.

Firefighters will then test the levels, try to figure out the problem, and treat anyone who has symptoms of exposure.

Palmer says it's not just recommended to have a detector, but soon it will be the law in Meridian.

"The new code effective in January requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in the homes," said Palmer.

It's best to plug in detectors about 4 feet high, because CO travels at the same level of the gas it's mixed with, so it can be either high or low.

Palmer suggests having one detector between the living space and bedroom, and one on each level of your home.