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GTLVFD - P.O. Box 1234 - Anaconda, MT 59711
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Gas Detector Saves Georgetown Lake Home
By Rick McGill
“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives” is no longer a cliché for one Georgetown Lake couple. Two weeks ago when a liquid propane line outside their Rainbow Point home began leaking gas, enough of the deadly fumes crept inside the house to set off their carbon monoxide detector. As part of their overall residential alarm system, the gas detector is monitored 24 hours a day by a national monitoring service which immediately summoned Georgetown Lake Fire Department to investigate the alarm. When they arrived they found the house contained dangerous levels of propane gas and immediately ventilated the premises to avoid an explosion or fire.
GLVFD Chief Jeff Brock said that if the leak had gone undetected it is very probable that the house could have been severely damaged or destroyed by an explosion and neighboring structures could have been damaged as well. He stressed the importance of the alarm system in this case because the house was unoccupied at the time of the incident and no one was home to detect the odor of leaking propane the old-fashioned way: by nose. “Even with no one home, the furnace could have kicked on or the hot water heater or any kind of switch in the house that creates even a small spark, and then Boom.”
Monitored alarm systems can save lives, property and money. For many, the advantages of a home security system are primarily financial. Informing your homeowners insurance company that you have certain security measures in place can save 5 percent to 20 percent on your homeowners policy. Homes equipped with a burglar and fire alarm system that is monitored by a third-party service typically receive a 15 to 20 percent discount which can almost totally offset the cost of an alarm system.
In this incident the carbon monoxide detector was triggered by fumes associated with leaking liquid propane, however carbon monoxide (CO) can accumulate from many sources. Furnaces, hot water heaters, space heaters, all produce carbon monoxide whenever fuels such as natural or LP gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal are burned. The amount of CO produced by fuel-burning appliances is usually not harmful. But when these appliances malfunction or lack proper maintenance they can emit harmful levels of CO. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen within a matter of minutes and is responsible for more deaths than any other single poison. This odorless, colorless poison can hurt you slowly in low levels, cause permanent neurological damage in moderate levels or take lives at higher levels. Many victims die while asleep, unable to notice the onset of CO poisoning. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath.
Protection is as easy as installing a simple carbon monoxide detector in your home or office. When an alarm is triggered a local warning beep alerts you to the presence of the odorless CO gas. That protection is greatly enhanced when the detector is monitored by a third-party alarm service which will call the premises to ensure the occupants are aware of the alarm. If the phone is not answered they will automatically contact the local fire department to investigate further.
What you can’t see or smell can sometimes hurt you the most. Providing so much more than peace of mind, a CO detector can save your life.
Rick McGill is co-owner of Elk Creek Security Associates, LLC in Philipsburg, MT.
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