Fire Marshal: Proper Response to Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Recently, the New Canaan Fire Department has been receiving calls for service from residents, stating: “I think my [carbon monoxide] detector is malfunctioning—it keeps beeping but everything is fine.”

Fire Marshal Fred Baker. Credit: Michael Dinan

When firefighters arrive they meter the home and find that, in fact, there are low levels of carbon monoxide or ‘CO’ present.

That is the beauty of CO detectors—they alarm before the threat is dangerous to occupants. The device is doing its job. When a CO detector sounds it is important to call 911 and have the Fire Department come and test your home to make sure it is safe.

Common causes of CO alarming is cars started in the garage and allowed to run for few minutes (even with the door open), malfunctioning heating system or water heater, gas log sets not burning properly, small engine appliances running outside of the structure (generators, lawn mowers, etc.).

The bottom line is, if your CO detector is sounding it is imperative to call 911 and have it checked out. The detector is probably doing what it is designed to do.

For question regarding CO detectors or any other fire safety matters, please contact the New Canaan Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-594-3030.

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