Response to Carbon Monoxide Incidents Firefighter III Scott
Response to Carbon Monoxide Incidents Firefighter III Scott Sanders Overview Introduction Carbon Monoxide (CO) Properties Possible sources of CO CO Health Hazards
CO levels what they mean Initial response procedures Atmospheric monitoring equipment Carbon Monoxide Detectors Introduction Purpose: Familiarize personnel with the dangers and properties associated with CO Provide a frame-work on which to base initial
response considerations Familiarize personnel with equipment used in the detection/monitoring of CO Introduction References: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Guide, Responding to Residential Carbon Monoxide Emergencies United States Environmental Protection Agency Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-irritating gas CO is a POISION and can be deadly at high levels CO can compound pre-existing illnesses and is often times blamed on pre-mature deaths Virtually undetectable without specialized equipment Carbon Monoxide (CO) Properties
Flammable Gas: DOT Designation Auto ignition temperature = 1128 F Lower Explosive Limit 12.8% Upper Explosive Limit 74% Vapor Density of .968
Slightly less than that air CO will rise with warm air CO disperses evenly once it cools Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sources A natural by-product of incomplete combustion from burning carbon based fossil fuels such as: Gasoline
Wood Coal Propane Oil Methane Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sources Attached garages with running automobiles Cooking and heating appliances Improperly vented Not serviced
Inefficient/improper operation Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sources Appliances Vented: appliances that are designed to be used with a duct, chimney, pipe or other device that carry the combustion pollutants outside the home. Un-vented: appliances that do not vent to the outside, so they release combustion pollutants directly into the home.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sources Levels of CO in homes: Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 parts per million (ppm). Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and those near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher. Health Hazards Silent Killer: CO will kill before its presence
is known No early warning signs Displaces O2 in the bloodstream Victims die from asphyxiation Health Hazards Absorbed into the body through lungs Transferred to the blood Combines with hemoglobin to become carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) CO poisoning is measured by the % of COHb in the blood
Health Hazards Reduced O2 reduces functions of the brain, cardiac muscle, and respiratory system CO has a greater affinity for hemoglobin than O2 at 210 times to 1 COHb limits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen and effects all major organs and muscles. Health Hazards
Individual CO poisoning levels depend on several factors Initial COHb concentration Concentration of CO inhaled Length of exposure Activity while inhaling CO Body size and physiological factors Health Hazards
High Risk Groups Infants/Children Pregnancies (Fetus) Elderly People with Heart Conditions People with Respiratory Conditions Anemics COHb Levels of Concern %COHb Levels 0-10%
10-20% 20-30% 30-40% 40-50% 50-60% 60-70% 70-80% 80-90% 90-100% Symptoms None Tension in forehead Headache Severe headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness Increased respiratory, pulse rate. Asphyxiation Coma, convulsions, Cheyne-Stokes respirations Weak respirations and pulse; possible death
Slowing and stoppage of breathing. Poss. death Death in less that one hour Death within a few minutes. Carbon Monoxide (CO) Levels CO Levels 128,000 PPM 12,800 PPM 10,000 PPM 6400 PPM 3200 PPM 1500 PPM 1300 PPM 400 PPM 35 PPM 10 PPM 9 PPM
Effects 12.8 % = LEL 10% of LEL Un-consciousness & Death 1-3 minutes Death or irreversible damage in 10-15 minutes Dizziness & Headache 5-10 minutes IDLH Cherry red skin and violent headache STEL 1-2 hour TLV-TWA PEL (OSHA) Gwinnett Standard Gwinnett Standard for Structure Fires SCBA Removal EPA: Maximum acceptable level of CO in living space Initial Response Procedures
Mental Review Indicators of CO incident Time of Day Location of incident Patients? Provide Medical Treatment if CO poisoning suspected Consider transport to Hyperbaric Facility (If available)
Contact Medical Control Initial Response Procedures Interview occupant(s) Check CO Detector if installed Request Haz-Mat or Squad 20; Squad 24 or a Battalion Chief if needed
CO Monitor Ventilate Building Remove to fresh air; if still alarming consider threat Haz-Mat can re-create once on-scene Secure utilities or appliances as indicated Obtain CO readings
Relay information to receiving hospital if necessary Atmospheric Monitoring Equipment CO Monitors Direct Read What you see is what you get. Firefighter Proof!!!! Atmospheric Monitoring Equipment
Sampling Techniques Zero the instrument in fresh air Sample at entrance prior to entry Sample at various heights upon entry Sample near location of CO alarm and in and around all appliances that use or cause combustion and any other location in which CO may be present Where to Sample????
Sample around all un-vented appliances (stove, ovens & space heaters) Sample in heat exchanger exhaust ports of furnace Sample under draft diverter of an atmospheric hot water heater Sample anywhere you may suspect CO (Garage, basement, etc.) Carbon Monoxide Detectors UL Standard According to UL Standard 2034, home carbon monoxide detectors must sound a warning before CO levels reach 100 PPM over 90 minutes, 200
PPM over 35 minutes or 400 PPM over 15 minutes. The standard requires the alarm must sound before an average, healthy adult begins to experience symptoms of CO poisoning. The warning provides time to evacuate the premises Kidde CO Detector - Example Alarm Limits Green LED
70 ppm CO Concentration 60 240 minutes 150 ppm CO Concentration 10 50 minutes 400 ppm CO Concentration 4 15 minutes Flashes every 30 seconds to show proper operation Red LED Flashes when a dangerous level of CO is present Summary Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an ever present danger. To be properly prepared to respond to such an emergency
we must have a thorough knowledge of our enemy: what he is, where he lives and how he harms us. Understanding that we must be able to appropriately apply learned response guidelines in order to SAFELY respond to and mitigate the problem at hand. It is essential that we use appropriate procedures when responding to incidents involving CO to ensure that we accomplish our primary mission of Everyone Goes Home!!!
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