Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 --- 7:10 p.m.
In an effort to decrease the number of carbon monoxide-related emergencies, the City of Madison Fire Department is installing CO detectors in a number of homes.
Bill Waterman has a natural gas furnace, a wood-burning fire place and a gas stove. All three are potential ways carbon monoxide can build up in his home. So Lori Wirth with the Madison Fire Department is helping him install carbon monoxide detectors Tuesday afternoon.
"It's really scary to think of something in your home that you can't smell, you can't taste," Wirth said. "There's really no way to tell that you have carbon monoxide in your home unless you have an alarm to tell you."
Wirth is making the house calls as part of a fire prevention grant that was awarded to the city. Anyone who has fossil fuel-burning appliances can receive the free alarms--one for each floor of the residence.
"It makes us feel safer, and it's very cost-effective for me," Waterman said.
Carbon monoxide detectors have to be replaced every five years. If you hear a chirping noise, that usually means it needs a new battery. If it's a steady beep, though, Wirth says you're going to want to open some windows and call 911.
"When you have something like carbon monoxide poisoning, it's very difficult to distinguish from, let's say, flu symptoms," Wirth said. "So if you think you have the flu, but you get better every time you leave the house, that's a sure sign that you need to look into checking your home. And the best way to do that of course is to make sure you have that early warning right off the bat. And that's why carbon monoxide alarms are so important."