Germantown Mall Evacuation Highlights That Carbon Monoxide Danger Is Year Round
On September 5, 2012, Firefighters evacuated a Germantown, TN mall near Poplar and Exeter. Three people had to be taken to the hospital.
Why? Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
You may wonder how it was even possible on a 97 degree day to be exposed to carbon monoxide (CO). Sadly, it is a commonly held belief that you only need to be concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter while running your furnace.
As the incident in Germantown proved, ANY gas appliance can create a carbon monoxide poisoning tragedy any day of the week and any time of the day. It does NOT matter if your gas equipment is NEW or OLD.
Although the effects were felt throughout the mall, the actual SOURCE of the troubles was the water heater in the back of Chili’s. The CO levels were reported to be over 10 times the normal level inside the mall. It took over four hours, after the source was located and disabled, for levels to return to normal inside the mall.
I cannot imagine how high the levels must have been at the water heater. It boggles the mind that airborne levels, far from the water heater, were allowed to reach levels high enough to have a health impact on people inside the mall. In our home, we use our low level Carbon Monoxide Monitor that lets us know any time the levels rise above 9 parts per million.
What scares me the most, as an asthma suffering myself, is that exposures to levels that high could have had very serious consequences for my health. Those at the greatest risk for CO poisoning are: the very young, elderly, pregnant, asthma sufferers and those with other heart and/or lung conditions. Not only is this group more at risk – they are more at risk at lower levels of carbon monoxide than the general population.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is often called the “silent killer” because it sneaks up on people, most often, without warning. CO is an odorless, colorless gas that is a natural byproduct of your gas appliances when they burn fuel. Where there is fire, there is carbon monoxide. It is also present in car exhaust, generator exhaust and other items we all may be exposed to.
If you have ANY gas appliances: furnace, boiler, water heater, stove, oven, gas logs or dryer, you need professional Carbon Monoxide testing at least once a year on each and every one of them to know if they are safe to operate in their current condition. It takes special equipment, knowledge and training to perform this kind of testing. We are NCI Certified in Carbon Monoxide Testing and Combustion Analysis and uniquely qualified to test all of your gas appliances, not just your furnace or boiler.
Let me reiterate that it does NOT matter if your equipment is NEW or OLD – dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are possible any day of the year from any fuel burning appliance.
Until October 31, 2012, we are offering a $79 CO safety check of ALL of the gas appliances in YOUR home when you mention you saw it here. Just say Kathe sent you.