A domestic carbon monoxide leak in the US from a newly installed furnace
recently sent 11 people to hospital. The gas leak was attributed to a cracked
heat shield on one of the surfaces of the heating appliance, which released the
harmful gas into the house.
The residents called the Milwaukee Fire Department at around
10pm on January 14 after they began to feel ill. Firefighters found that
the carbon monoxide in the air was at significantly higher than safe levels at
around 200 parts per million (ppm) on the second floor of the house. According
to the Department for the Environment in Australia, the natural concentration
of carbon monoxide is around 0.2 ppm.
Carbon monoxide gas leaks are difficult to detect because the gas is
completely colourless, odourless and tasteless. Unlike natural gas, which has
an added scent, carbon monoxide can go virtually undetected until it causes illness.
The residents involved in the Milwaukee gas leak incident were
fortunately awake when the gas took hold, allowing them crucial time to call
the relevant authorities. The consequences could have been more serious if the gas
leak had occurred later into the night when they would have been asleep.
Deputy Fire Chief of the Milwaukee Fire Department Brian Smith explained
that the residents who were poisoned were not aware of the gas leak problem
since they didn’t have a carbon monoxide detector.
Using the right carbon monoxide sensors could have prevented this incident
and many others like it. Similarly, having an effective gas
analyser is crucial in the applicable commercial sectors.
testo 317-3 ambient CO meters can detect the minutest traces of
carbon monoxide, providing visual and audible warnings when safe levels of gas
concentration are exceeded, and allowing the user to take suitable action.