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A good story

technician saved a man from his home, which was flooding with carbon monoxide.

Do you have a personal CO monitor?

<a href="http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56001471-78/technician-carbon-mecham-monoxide.html.csp">http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56001471-78/technician-carbon-mecham-monoxide.html.csp</a>



  • Bob Harper
    Bob Harper Member Posts: 1,046
    great story

    Larry, I've been saying for awhile most trades should be required to carry a personal CO monitor. 
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,629
    At that level with out

    proper breathing apparatus he the tech should never have entered the house he could have been killed. He is not a hero he is poorly trained. That is what first responders are for to enter high CO level dwellings with proper PPE.

    Flue pipes do not kill people but not being connected means that CO2 an extinguishing agent was quenching the combustion process as  the flue gases were recirculating in the combustion zone. If he had 800 PPM upon entry then in the basement it must have been much higher. perhaps 1000 to 1500 PPM so he should have along with the gent sleeping in the basement been dead or at least mal-functioning and un-stable.
  • Larry (from OSHA)
    Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 717
    CO levels, etc.

    Tim, I agree that the technician’s judgment may have been questionable, but the concept of Good Samaritan is what most likely kicked in and maybe the few extra minutes of fresh air that the guy in the basement got because of that saved his life.  As far as what various exposure levels mean, here are a few numbers.


    IDLH: 1,200 ppm

    Existing short-term exposure guidelines: National Research Council [NRC 1987] Emergency Exposure Guidance Levels (EEGLs):

    10-minute EEGL: 1,500 ppm

    30-minute EEGL: 800 ppm

    60-minute EEGL: 400 ppm

    24-hour EEGL: 50 ppm

    Lethal concentration:  Human = 5,000 = 5 min

    OSHA 8 hour exposure limit:  Minnesota = 35 ppm, federal = 50 ppm.


    So even exposure to the IDLH does not mean that a person will tip over and die.  It depends on the amount of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) in the blood which is dependant on the level of CO exposure verses time of exposure.

    And I still say it's a good idea to have a personal CO monitor because if you don't test, you don't know.

  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,629
    Not forgetting in all

    of this the explosive limits of CO 12.5 to 74% if a source of igntion is present.

    I always instructed my techs not to enter a building if the smell of gas is present or any level of CO above 99 PPM. These were service techs from the gas company who had to follow a particular protocol on entering any unsafe environment. I do not think people in this business are operating safely most of the time. They enter buildings with a smell of gas, they do not have test equipment (too expensive), some have it and do not know how to use it, this also includes some fire departments and police. I run into it all the time. My training center is next door to a fire station and just talking informally to them tells me they are poorly informed and lack training. I have offered them free training and they have never taken me up on it.

    Thanks for the info on CO levels it defintely lines up with what I have in my manuals and teach.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666

    "I have offered them free training and they have never taken me up on it."

    Maybe you are charging too little and they do  not respect you for it.

    Charge them $5 or $10 each for the training and then they might think they are getting a good deal.
This discussion has been closed.