Chief Jen Collins-Brown would like to take time during the bitterly cold weather after a significant snow storm to remind everyone to stay vigilant with fire and safety training and accident prevention. Early in the morning of January 7th, around 6:45, Topsfield Firefighters were summoned to a house on Canterbury Hill Road where the Essex County Regional Emergency Communications Center had received a 911 call reporting that a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector was in alarm in the basement. Ambulance 1 arrived with FF McGlauflin and Lt. Brown, the crew entered the building and identified levels in excess of 120 PPM (parts per million) in the basement. The source was determined to be a malfunctioning natural gas boiler and the unit was shut down and the building ventilated. The homeowners and their two children had been woken up by the detectors sounding and were saved from inhaling the poisonous fumes. Chief Collins-Brown would like the citizens of Topsfield to remember to keep smoke and CO detectors in good working order as well as remember to shovel out gas vent pipes to prevent exhaust build-ups. Detectors should be tested monthly and batteries replaced when the clocks change and are required to be in most homes as a result of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 148 Section 26F1/2 or “Nicole’s Law” (click link to learn more) enacted in 2006. Carbon monoxide has a cumulative effect, so the longer it is breathed in, the more it effects the body. It is attaches itself to the hemoglobin in the blood that typically carries oxygen to our body’s living tissue, only at 230 times the strength. This means that a small amount undetected over a long period of time will cause serious and potentially permanent damage to the body and brain by preventing oxygen to be distributed to the body. If anyone has questions about the dangers of carbon monoxide or its detection, Chief Collins-Brown urges them to call the fire department at 978-887-5148.
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