Jefferson City Fire Department officials are reminding residents about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning after an accident Thursday morning.
Three people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the JCFD responded to a carbon monoxide alarm just before 8 a.m. in the 3800 block of Terra Bella Drive, according to the department's reports.
Firefighters were informed while en route that one patient had difficulty breathing, but everyone in the house was sick for some reason.
Firefighters found three residents in differing states of distress and a carbon monoxide reading far in excess of safe levels. The apartment was evacuated and ventilated, and adjoining apartments were checked for carbon monoxide. No other problems were found.
The occupants were evaluated and transported by EMS as a precaution.
Carbon monoxide is found in fumes produced by devices such as portable generators, stoves, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood, fire officials said. Carbon monoxide from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and die as a result of breathing carbon monoxide.
"There is a misconception that this is a seasonal problem, but that's not true," JCFD Division Chief Jason Turner said. "Any structure with gas devices has the potential for this."
Turner suggested residents install and test carbon monoxide detectors if there are any gas appliances in the home or if they have an attached garage. Batteries in a carbon monoxide detector should be changed every six months. The cost for a detector usually ranges $25-$35.
"We get several calls each year for CO alarms," Turner said. "Fortunately, most are either for dead batteries or that the detector needs to be replaced."
Turner added CO detectors are required to be installed in new construction inside Jefferson City. There is no state law that requires CO detectors or smoke detectors to be installed.
Jefferson City also has an ordinance which requires landlords provide smoke alarms in every rental unit, and the detector must be maintained by the resident.
Tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning include:
Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
Never run a generator, pressure washer or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high as flying debris can block ventilation lines.
Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include: nausea, dizziness, headaches, confusion and sleepiness. These symptoms can be confused for flu symptoms.
Those with questions or concerns about carbon monoxide can call the Fire Department at 573-634-6401.