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Originally published: 2013-12-10 17:47:34
Last modified: 2013-12-10 17:50:44

Free carbon monoxide detectors available

by Staff Reports

Boone Fire Department has 130 free residential carbon monoxide detectors available to the public, donated by First Alert.

Often called "the silent killer," carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as propane, wood, oil, gasoline, coal, natural gas or methane burn incompletely. Heating and cooking equipment that burn these fuels can be sources of carbon monoxide in the home.

Carbon monoxide originating from a pool water heater was blamed for the deaths of three people at Boone's Best Western hotel earlier this year.

The N.C. Legislature recently passed a law requiring all hotels to install CO detectors in rooms with a fuel-burning source and any room that shares a common wall with such a source.

The General Assembly also voted in 2010 to require all rental property using CO-producing fuels to install carbon monoxide detectors. After 2011, all new residential construction with fuel-burning heaters or appliances, fireplaces or an attached garage was required to install the detectors, as well as any that install or replace a fuel-burning device.

Several types of detectors exist (battery powered, electricity powered or connected to the fire alarm system), and each should be installed according to manufacturers' recommendations.

The Boone Fire Department recommends choosing a detector approved by a third-party testing center, such as Underwriters Laboratory or Factory Mutual.

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in a home:

-- Never allow a vehicle to warm up in an attached garage. Always move it outside while running.

-- During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of any snow buildup or debris.

-- A generator should always be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, door and vent openings.

-- Propane and charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide and should only be used outdoors.

-- Have all heating appliances serviced every year to ensure that they are working correctly.

If the CO alarm sounds, treat it the same as a fire alarm, and immediately alert any others in the house and then get outside and stay outside. Make sure everyone is accounted for and call 911.

Anyone who needs a free carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector can call Boone Fire Department at (828) 268-6180.