Monday, January 30, 2017

A Stitch in Time

At first I thought the beeping was coming from the television.  I had just settled back into the couch after tucking my daughter into bed for the second time.  Her tummy was hurting.  It had been doing that a lot lately.  Especially on Sunday nights with the specter of Monday morning looming large.  She was getting headaches, stomachaches, nausea.  It had been going on for some time.

My son is similar.  His headaches and bellyaches come and go.  He is famous for vomiting at any given moment and then feeling fine the next.  And to think of it, we have all been under the weather lately.  Our house, as so many, has been caught up in the hacking, runny nose, sore throat plague making its way though our neighborhood.  Katie was lethargic and had a headache almost everyday last week.

We were all coping though.  Getting better slowly as the body is wont to do.  There were no emergency room visits or trips to the pediatrician.  But we were all tired after a busy week and a hectic weekend.

So when the incessant beeping started, the first thing Katie did was turn down the volume on the TV.  When it stubbornly persisted, I grumpily made my way down to the basement to investigate the culprit.  Once in the basement, I tried to triangulate from which hidden corner the beeping was coming from.  The boiler?  The water heater?  The fire alarm? The beeping no longer felt benign as I held my fingers to my ears to keep from permanent hearing damage.  It was about when I focused on the CO sensor, that Katie called down to me.

It was the alarm company.  Our Carbon Monoxide levels were too high, and they called the fire department.  I rushed up the stairs, opened the house doors, and we gathered the children and coats.  Katie and the kids waited in the car, and I went to the front of the house and flagged down the fire truck.

It was not a false alarm.  The Carbon Monoxide level in our basement was 108 PPM.  According to the paramedic, one can survive in this range for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Katie's office was the next highest at 40 PPM (it usually takes about 8 hours for a person to be overcome at these levels).  The kids bedrooms were in the 30's.

The Firemen shut down the boiler and the water heater and opened all the windows.  Within minutes the levels had fallen to zero. We slept last night in a chilly home using our backup heating system that is meant for only half the house.  Slept is a loose term, I mostly tossed and turned.  We will see if the headaches and nausea disappear.

It's disturbing to think of all the possible scenarios that could have played out without the benefit of that CO detector.

Did I mention that we just installed it a few months ago?


jimbo26 said...

`Tis good that everyone is ok . Was the boiler etc installed wrongly ?

Don said...

Great lesson for everyone to learn from. Check smoke alarms and batteries too.