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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cold Temperatures Increase Risk of Carbon Monoxide

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

With cold weather in the forecast the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) will rise as temperatures fall.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas and is referred to by firefighters and paramedics as the “The Silent Killer.” The reference to the “silent killer” is due to the properties of CO (colorless, odorless and tasteless) make it nearly impossible to detect without monitoring equipment. A working CO detector is the best method citizens and residents can use to detect the presence of CO. CO alarms are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores.

CO results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion and/or the inadequate ventilation of CO after normal combustion. Sources of CO include unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages.

NOW is the time to contact a certified technician to clean and examine your heating equipment.  This function should be performed annually and before full time use of your furnace and chimney.

CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

• Install a 10-year tamper proof with hush feature smoke alarm and CO detector on each level of your home and near sleeping areas, and make sure it is more than 5 feet from fuel-burning appliances to prevent false alarms.

• Ensure that fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and working according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect these appliances for adequate ventilation.

• Do not burn charcoal inside your house, even in the fireplace.

• Do not use gasoline-powered generators inside of your house.

• Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting.

• Do not block or seal shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances, such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.

If It Happens to You

• Never ignore your CO detectors if it sounds.

• Operate test/reset button.

• Determine if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning such as a headache, nausea, drowsiness or confusion. Call 911.

• Open doors and windows, or exit your home. Leave the CO alarm where it is.

• If you have an alarm with digital display, emergency responders can determine the highest level of CO present and decide how to treat victims.

• Do not return to your home until the emergency personnel have arrived, the home is aired out and your CO alarm returns to normal operation.

The best protection a family can provide for themselves is to have a working smoke alarm and CO detector in their home.  These devices should be tested on the first day of every month and battery’s changed at least once-a-year.  These life saving alarms, when properly maintained, work every second of every day protecting you but they don’t work forever.  CO detectors should be replaced every 8 years and smoke alarms every 10 years.

Any resident that is in need of a smoke alarm and/or CO detector, and can not afford to purchase one, can contact our Safety First Alarm Program at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and request one.  A firefighter will come to your home, at a mutually agreeable time, to provide and install the alarm for you.

Bowie House Fire - 2 Dogs Removed from Burning Home

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

A fire in a Bowie home remains under investigation by the personnel from the Office of the Fire Marshal. Fire/EMS units were alerted to the house fire in the 12400 block of Sandal Lane at around 9:00 am, Wednesday, October 23.  The first arriving unit from Bowie Fire/EMS Station 839 advised of a 2-story, Cape Cod, single family home with heavy fire showing from both levels.

Firefighters mounted an aggressive interior attack and brought the fire under control within 20 minutes of arrival.  There were 36 firefighters on the scene battling this blaze. No injuries were reported.  Preliminary fire loss is estimated at $100,000.

The home is in foreclosure, however, at least 1 person occupied the home.  The relationship between the occupant and the home owner is part of an on-going investigation.

After the fire was extinguished, firefighters were performing overhaul and located two small dogs on the first floor.  One of the dogs, a chihuahua, was described as being near death.  Firefighters used Pet Oxygen Masks, donated to the Fire/EMS Department by various groups, to revive the dogs.  After a period of oxygen therapy the Chihuahua became alert and started trembling.  The other small black dog responded and appeared to be in good condition.  The dogs owner arrived on the scene and after being interviewed by Fire Investigators was allowed to take her dogs.  Both dogs appeared to be in good condition.

The cause and origin of this fire remains under investigation.

All images provided courtesy of Mark e. Brady. PGFD PIO

A City of Bowie Police officer assists in providing oxygen to a Chihuahua that was overcome from smoke.

Fire Fighter George Rogers was part of the crew that located the dogs and initiated treatment.  He is providing O2 to the small black dog.

A City of Bowie Police officer assists in providing oxygen to a Chihuahua that was overcome from smoke.

Fire Fighter George Rogers was part of the crew that located the dogs and initiated treatment.  He is providing O2 to the small black dog.

The Cape Cod style home sustained significant damage.

The Cape Cod style home sustained significant damage

The Cape Cod style home sustained significant damage

Fire Fighter Anthony Slydell assisted the dogs owner by carrying the Chihuahua to her car.

The dogs were released to their owners.  Both dogs appeared to be doing well after receiving a round of oxygen.

Fire Fighter Rogers with a very alert and trembling Chihuahua