© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 5:53 pm
NEW KENSINGTON, PA. – Firefighters and EMS crews responded to a call for help after a CO alarm alerts residents to possible carbon monoxide in their home.
Crews were dispatched just before 3:00 pm today by Westmoreland 911 for possible patients to a residence in the 1600 block of Hazlett Street. New Kensington 1st Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. said there was no detection of carbon monoxide in the residence however a request was made for the gas utility to investigate the incident.
No residents were transported by EMS, and the home was naturally ventilated. The cause for the alarm was a dead battery in the detector. Chief Saliba said this is the time of year when residents should get their appliances checked by qualified personnel to ensure they are in proper working condition for the upcoming winter season. Residents are urged to install new furnace filters, have the chimney checked, and have the intake/exhaust checked for outside obstructions on newer type furnaces that don’t use a flu.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas that can kill people before they realize it’s in their homes. CO is a by-product of incomplete combustion and comes from malfunctioning appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, wood burning stoves and gas clothes dryers. When these appliances are not adequately ventilated, carbon monoxide can build up in the home to lethal levels.
A carbon monoxide detector is designed to sound an alarm if it senses dangerously high CO levels in a short time. There are three different types of detectors on the market: plug-in, battery-operated and hardwired (connected to the home’s wiring system). A basic unit will cost less than $20. However, some detectors have features such as current CO-level displays or peak-CO memory buttons; others sound an 85-decibel horn in addition to emitting verbal warnings. Depending on the features, shoppers should expect to pay as much as $60 for these higher-end models.
To the surprise of many consumers, CO detectors have a finite lifespan. The sensors wear out within five to seven years, and the newest detectors come equipped with an end-of-life timer. At that point, the devices essentially self-destruct — beeping constantly until replaced.