November 27, 2002
COLD WEATHER + HOLIDAY GATHERINGS =
INCREASED CARBON MONOXIDE DANGER
Charlotte, NC – The Mecklenburg County Health Department reminds residents that carbon monoxide can be a holiday danger. Homes crowd with family and friends, the furnace and fireplace work overtime and gas appliances turn out holiday meals. A carbon monoxide alarm can alert residents to danger from carbon monoxide – known as the "silent killer" – and avert a tragedy.
Mecklenburg County's carbon monoxide ordinance requires an alarm in every residence with fossil fuel burning appliances. That includes furnaces, ranges, water heaters, gas logs, etc. The ordinance also applies to homes with attached garages, since vehicles and other gasoline powered equipment produce carbon monoxide. All daycare facilities must also have an operating carbon monoxide alarm.
Carbon monoxide alarms are available at most hardware, home improvement and discount stores for between $20 and $40. Residents of Mecklenburg County who cannot afford to buy a carbon monoxide alarm can apply for a free alarm by calling City-County Customer Service at 704-336-7600 during regular business hours. Callers must be prepared to give their full name, home address and home telephone number. Each resident's income will be verified and an alarm installed.
On November 23, Carolinas Medical Center treated a Charlotte woman in its hyperbaric chamber for carbon monoxide poisoning – the first such treatment for a Mecklenburg County resident since the County's ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2001. Since then, emergency calls for carbon monoxide danger have nearly tripled. It is estimated that the Charlotte Fire Department and Mecklenburg County's volunteer firefighters will respond to more than a thousand calls in 2002 for an activated carbon monoxide alarm.
For more information on Mecklenburg County's carbon monoxide ordinance, check the Web site