Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Friendly Public Service Announcement

It's been said that you learn something new everyday. On Monday this was certainly true. As I was getting Rhett's lunch ready, the smoke alarm went off. But it wasn't alarming us to a fire, but rather to carbon monoxide (CO). With fire, I would have known what to do. Grab the baby, the dog, my sewing machine, and run outside. Then commence with crying. But with carbon monoxide, I had NO IDEA. I called Chuck at work and he called his dad (what any self-respecting adult does: call parents). While I was waiting on his call, my sister called to say hi, at least that's what I think she was calling for; we never really got to her. When I told her of my plight, she told me to call the fire department (who knew!?). This turned out to be the right answer, but since it was unknown to me, I thought maybe it would be unknown to others and maybe you could learn something new today too.

What to do when the carbon monoxide detector goes off:
1. Do not open your windows. When the emergency personnel arrive, they'll use their super special tools to try to find the source and levels of the CO. If you have opened the windows, not only will it lower the number, but likely disrupt the location of the CO making it hard to find the source of the problem.

2. Call the fire department, not 911, but the actual fire department. (Of course, it's probably a good idea to have numbers like this on the fridge or somewhere instead of having to find them in the phone book for this type of situation.)

3. Grab your keys and get all living things outside and wait for the emergency personnel to arrive. If it's cold, get in the car. Entertain said living things. We did this by hearing the fire truck leave the station (we're maybe 0.5 miles from it) and watch it come the wrong way up our one-way street.

What to expect when they're done:
The fire people will likely open the windows once their done, and depending on the levels, will tell you whether it's safe to return to your house. Hopefully they will have found the source of the problem and then you can remedy it.

This experience certainly got me thinking about emergency plans. We don't have them but we definitely should (FHE next Monday?). Have any of you done this? What sorts of things would you grab in a fire? Do any of you have a fire-proof box to keep important documents?


  1. THANK YOU, seriously GOOD information glad to hear all is well!!

  2. What was the source of the leak? Did the fire department fix it?

  3. yeah, did the stove guy come over?

  4. So this happened to Becky, as in Ryan's wife, my SIL! It was really scary! I got a call from her actually and helped her to call Questar who came over and checked it out. She was told to open her windows, but you are right, you're not supposed to. Anyway, way to put it on your blog because I would have no clue if I hadn't heard it from Becky!

  5. the fire department determined that the highest concentration of CO was behind the (then turned-off) stove. and the fireman had no idea why. we had the stove guy come out and he couldn't find anything wrong with it. so we wonder if it was just a pocket of CO that wafted its way up there. the alarm hasn't gone off again since, so that's good.

  6. That is so crazy. I wouldn't have known what to do either.
    So, sort of related but, We have been trying to cook more at home lately and I have set off our fire alarm 3 times in the last week. I'm sure my neighbors hate me.