The below story was copied from firefighterclosecalls.com
CO DANGER: USE CAUTION! (PA HOTEL GUEST DEAD, EMS & PD TREATED)
Saturday, January 19, 2008
This incident first call came in as an individual with flu symptoms and then a hour later for multible victims.(Scroll down for specific 1st Responder details) ...reminding us of what we are dipatched to may not be what we have on arrival!
Carbon monoxide fumes killed a hotel guest and sickened four others after a construction canopy blocked venting from the building’s water heaters. Levels of the gas were so high that rescuers were forced to retreat until the hotel, the Best Western Allentown Inn and Suites, could be ventilated. The dead hotel guest was identified as Philip D. Prechtel, 63, of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Four guests were taken to a hospital, said Pete Nickischer, a Berks-Lehigh Regional Police spokesman. Five emergency workers were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.
1 critical (the DOA’s wife)
3 ambulance personnel with moderate symptoms
2 police officers with minor symptoms
6-10 guests with moderate symptoms
More guests with minor symptoms
All CO poisoning.
Exhausts from propane water heaters were trapped under plastic strung up by construction workers.
The trapped CO was sucked back into practically every room via the room heater/AC window units.
Levels of 75 ppm in the lobby, 100 in the hallways.
In the room (first floor) of the deceased (after doors and windows were opened) still pegged meters at 400 ppm.
Basement boiler-room - pegged meters at 400 ppm.
Area of the pool - 30-40 ppm.
Second and third floor guest rooms on that side of the building - 20-40 ppm.
This is why our EMS crews have a single gas CO detector on the primary jump kit. Every call, every day the detector is reading the environment to ensure the crew knows if there is CO present. The first due engine officer also has a single gas CO detector that he snap on his gear on each run, regardless of the type of incident OK not actual fires as it would peg out fast!) Our first due engine and truck also carry 4 gas meters with CO detectors for accurate measuring. Given the rising cost of fuel we have sen more and more questionable heating practices in the last few years that necessitated our buying the single gas detectors.
What single gas unit do you use? How often is it calibrated? Is it left on all the time or do the guys have to turn it on for runs? I think this is a great idea and would like to implement it at our place. We have some single gas AIM detectors on the squads, mainly as backups or for suspicion while waiting for the engine.
Ok, I saw that nightline hotel show too and don't need any reminders / nightmares. The CO detector is an intersting concept. Years ago we (EMS) were asked to carry them before they became fashionable for the FD. We turned them down not wanting to get involved in calls for every CO alarm taht went off. At that time everyone just called the gas co. Once they stopped responding to every alarm due to the increasing numbers FD got involved. We currently carry a Rad 57 on every EMS unit to evaluate patient SpCO reading. It has been a very handy unit and now being utilized in FF rehab. I do see the added benefit in this day and age of our EMS unit considering a seperate detector. I guess this is a good discussion item for our next CME. If anyone has suggestions or recomendation of a simple and reliable detection unit please contact me.
We just received our second round of BadgeRae CO detectors. They are good for 24 months from activation and must be bump tested once every 30 days. This is not too bad, compared to some others that require a bump test daily or before every use. We don't use these as the definitive measure but instead when they activate the EMS crew requests the FD for a CO response which gets the four gas meter and the RAD-57 for checking the patients. Since we only have one RAD-57 it stays on the engine and must be requested due to multiple EMS units being out at once.