A Fort Washington family was hospitalized after being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide (CO). At about 11:00 pm, Monday, August 29, an occupant of a home in the 12400 block of Surrey Circle Drive called 911 to report that another occupant was semi-conscious. Through a series of questions from the 911 call taker it was ascertained that a gasoline powered generator was operating in an attached garage of a single family home with the door closed.
The community was without power since the weekend when Hurricane Irene disrupted service. The family was using the generator to power some appliances.
Firefighters and paramedics from Fort Washington, haz mat personnel and EMS supervisors were dispatched and upon arrival detected a CO level of over 900 parts per million (ppm). A normal healthy CO level is between 0 to 30 ppm.
An adult female was found unconscious in her bed, treated on the scene by paramedics and transported by meda-vac helicopter to a hospital in Baltimore for hyperbaric treatment. The other 3 occupants, an adult female and 2 adult males, were transported by paramedics to area hospitals for treatment of CO exposure.
An EMS supervisor stated, "With the high level of CO detected in this house it was only a matter of minutes before fatal injuries would have occurred."
The condition of the patients have improved since being treated on the scene and at the hospital with high amounts of oxygen.
Firefighters ventilated the home before leaving and ensured CO levels returned to normal levels.
Citizens and residents should never operate a gasoline powered generator or charcoal grill inside of any structure. These devices produce high levels of CO in a very short period of time. Generators and grills must be operated outside at least 15 feet away from a structure.