Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LEBANON, Maine — Five people were treated for carbon monoxide exposure Monday night after CO detectors in the residence sounded and emergency personnel responded.

At approximately 7:25 p.m. the Lebanon Rescue Department and Lebanon Fire Department were called to a residence in Center Lebanon. While rescue crews were responding, they were updated that multiple people were experiencing symptoms similar to carbon monoxide poisoning.   A second ambulance from Lebanon Rescue was requested to the scene. “When rescue crews arrived on scene, they located five patients who had been in the house.

The fire department was able to determine there were elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the upstairs, in the area where two of the patients had been who had symptoms similar to carbon monoxide poisoning.   “Thankfully the family had carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house and when the alarms went off, they went outside in the fresh air until emergency crews arrived.” Assistant Chief Jason Cole said.

Two ambulances, a fire engine and fire squad van responded to the scene. Emergency crews were on scene for about an hour ventilating the house, treating the patients and rechecking the house for carbon monoxide levels.

“The property owner is going to work with her propane company to ensure their heating system is OK. The family quickly evacuated the five occupants and all the pets when the alarm went off,” Cole said.  With winter heating season now upon us as well as power outages due to ice, the Lebanon Rescue Department would like to remind residents about the dangers of carbon monoxide, or the “silent killer.”

Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 400 lives, and causes more than 20,000 visits to hospital emergency departments annually.  Carbon monoxide is produced by common household appliances. When not properly ventilated, carbon monoxide emitted by these appliances can build up.

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue, are often mistaken for the flu because the deadly gas goes undetected in a home. Prolonged exposure can lead to brain damage and even death.   The most common sources of carbon monoxide are motor vehicle exhaust, smoke from fires, engine fumes, and nonelectric heaters.  Carbon monoxide poisoning is often associated with malfunctioning or obstructed exhaust systems.