Carbon monoxide alert should be treated like emergency
The cold weather this month not only chilled Butler County, it also sent carbon monoxide detectors and emergency calls into overdrive.
“There's been an increase, but that's normal whenever you're using your furnaces, stoves, wood stoves more,” said Steve Bicehouse, director of the county's 911 center. Bicehouse could not say how many such calls the center had received this winter, but acknowledged he has heard more calls being dispatched to area fire departments.
“Any time you have a carbon monoxide indication, you should treat it as an emergency until it's proven not to be,” Bicehouse said. “I hope that people take them seriously.”
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that's produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In high concentrations, it can cause dizziness, headaches, disorientation. Prolonged exposure can be deadly.
About 170 people die each year in the United States of carbon monoxide poisoning, the commission said.
In Cranberry, fire Chief Brian Kovac said the department has responded to four calls since the beginning of the year, one in which a person inside a home was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
During the winter, the department typically responds to five or six carbon monoxide calls per month, though many are false alarms, Kovac said.
People frequently place their detectors next to their garage in their home. When someone pulls their car into the garage, it creates a small amount of carbon monoxide. Over time, that builds up in the detector, Kovac said.
If a detector goes off, firefighters will go to the home to see if there's an actual problem, Kovac said. If higher levels are present, he said, the department will summon the gas company to deal with the appliance that might be causing the problem.
Frank Maiolo, a commercial sales associate at Lowe's in Cranberry, said furnaces also should be checked annually to ensure they're working properly.
“Carbon monoxide detectors are just as important as smoke detectors,” Maiolo said.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fireworks festival hopes to draw crowd to Cooper’s Lake
- Police ID Beaver County man as victim in fatal Butler County crash
- Harmony, Zelienople fire departments talk merger
- Excitement building for new farm store at Clearview Mall
- Butler Treasurer Marburger seeks Republican nomination
- Large number of commissioner candidates could muddy campaign waters in Butler County