New CO Alarm Credited With Alerting Family

December 7, 2010

A Madison family is safe this morning after a carbon monoxide alarm alerted them to high levels of carbon monoxide in their home.

The family called 911 after the new alarm sounded. They told City of Madison firefighters that they had just purchased the alarm because they hadn't been feeling well.

Firefighters checked the air quality in the home with their own CO monitor and found levels as high as 300 parts per million (ppm) near the boiler room and 150 ppm upstairs in the single family home. Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 ppm. Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm.

Two adults and two children at the home in the 1100 block of Whittier St. were assessed by paramedics from Medic 6 and urged to see a physician for follow-up treatment. The family transported themselves. A third child was in school at the time and was going to be seen by a physician as well.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill requiring carbon monoxide alarms on all floors of single-family homes and two-unit dwellings. The law goes into effect in February. The detectors are already required in other types of housing.

Improperly vented furnaces and fireplaces are a common source of carbon monoxide leaks, which often leads to an increase in the number of incidents at the start of the home heating season.

The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
• CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
• Follow the manufacturer's instructions for placement and mounting height.
• Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
• Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947