High levels of carbon monoxide found inside Northampton home

Hampshire County

Courtesy: Northampton Fire Department

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northampton Fire Department is reminding residents to check your detectors after crews were called to a report of high levels of carbon monoxide inside a home.

According to the Northampton Fire Department, crews were called to a report of carbon monoxide detector going off at a multi-family house last week. It was determined to have extremely high levels of carbon monoxide inside due to the furnace vent pipe becoming disconnected and venting into the basement instead of the outside.

The fire department says the first floor residents heard the alarm sounding in the basement and knew to call 911. The building only had a single carbon monoxide detector, located in the basement.

According to Massachusetts Fire Code, the law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed on every level of your home, including habitable portions of basements and attics, in most residences. The code violation was addressed with the building owner.

Common signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu like symptoms, including headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and ultimately unconsciousness and death if there are high enough concentrations or extended exposure.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and most importantly poisonous. Carbon monoxide gas is produced whenever any fuel, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned and can be deadly.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are essential fire safety tools to have in your home. They are the best way to prevent fire fatalities.

Every home is required to have working smoke alarms and most are also required to have carbon monoxide alarms. Learn what kind you need to have and where they should be placed in your homes.

Protect Your Home and Family with Smoke Alarms

  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairs and at the base of cellar stairs.
  • Maintain smoke alarms. Test them once a month.
  • If the alarm uses regular batteries, change them at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks. A “chirping” sound indicates that it’s time to change 
    the batteries.
  • Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years. Alarms are labeled with their date of manufacture. If there is no label, they are older than 10 years and must be replaced

Protect Your Home and Family with Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • The law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed on every level of your home, including habitable portions of basements and attics, in most residences.
  • On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 10 feet of bedroom doors.
  • When purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), International Approval Service (IAS), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Most carbon monoxide alarms that are sold in the Commonwealth meet these standards, but it’s a good idea to check before buying.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms may be
    • Battery operated with battery monitoring
    • Plug-ins with battery back-up
    • Low voltage systems
    • Wireless
    • Qualified combination
  • Replace carbon monoxide alarms every 5 to 7 years, depending on the make and model.
  • Newer CO alarms have a 10-year sealed battery that does not need changing. At 10 years, the entire device is replaced. 
  • If you have a plug-in model, be aware that the battery will run down during an extended power outage and may need to be replaced. 

For Landlords and Tenants

  • Nicole’s Law also requires landlords to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms in every dwelling unit that has a source of carbon monoxide.
  • Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside of the individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect carbon monoxide near the furnace, boiler rooms, or garage.

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