Roanoke Fire-EMS discusses the importance of Carbon Monoxide alarms

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — This past Sunday, Roanoke Fire-EMS responded to a call of people having difficulty breathing. The initial call for help mentioned only one person with breathing difficulty, but once crews arrived on the scene, they quickly realized they needed additional aid.

“Once they got in there they realized that it was way more than just one and more than what they could handle as a single medic truck, so they called for help… and they also called for me because I have a machine on my truck that’s called the RAD57 and what it does is measure percentage of CO (carbon monoxide) in the bloodstream.”

CJ Arrington — First Lieutenant, Roanoke Fire-EMS

Crews quickly got first aid to each of the eight people affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. Then, they started ventilating the area and found the source of the carbon monoxide.

“So, what we’re looking at [is] a commercial-grade outside heating unit that was connected to a propane canister, and the difference between that and your normal inside-the-house heating units that you plug in through the electrical outlet, is this is commercial grade. It needs to be well ventilated and once you close off the O2 (oxygen) around it then you have nothing but CO (carbon monoxide).”

CJ Arrington — First Lieutenant, Roanoke Fire-EMS

The conditions of the patients ranged from dizziness to nausea to vomiting, as well as loss of consciousness for one of the eight.

“Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very deadly and at this point, it was at a lethal level. So we could’ve had a significant incident. But luckily, we were able to get in and from what our understanding as we transported them they were able to improve on their way to the hospital.”

Kristen Perdue – Community Risk Reduction Specialist, Roanoke Fire-EMS

Roanoke Fire-EMS has a program that gives Roanoke City residents free Carbon Monoxide alarms and free smoke alarms.

“Carbon monoxide alarms are very much like smoke alarms except for they detect carbon monoxide within the home, which is the colorless odorless gas. So, it’s very important to have one in your home, but you maintain it the same. You want to test it every month and you also want to make sure that you replace the batteries two times a year.

Where you can get it is thankfully Roanoke Fire-EMS has a program where you can get smoke or carbon monoxide alarms for your home if you are a City resident. So, feel free to give us a call (540) 853-2327 and we will get you a carbon monoxide alarm or smoke alarm if you need it.”

Kristen Perdue – Community Risk Reduction Specialist, Roanoke Fire-EMS

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