A Huntersville boy’s death in a fire last year and the carbon monoxide poisoning of a Davidson man this March have prompted Davidson Fire Department to join a campaign this summer to distribute smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout town.
The department is joining the Nikko’s Smiling Heart Foundation to educate residents about the dangers of smoke and carbon monoxide and the need for in-home detectors. Davidson firefighters have 315 donated detectors, and they’re ready to install them for residents.
To have detectors installed in your house, call firefighters at 704-940-9624, or email email@example.com.
As we reported in May, Margaretha Pinkney started the Nikko’s Smiling Heart Foundation in memory of her son, Nikko’Las Pinkney, who died in a fire at their Huntersville home in October 2011. Ms. Pinkney and others from the group were at Ada Jenkins Center signing up area residents for the free detectors.
The campaign also comes after the March death of Davidson resident Ray Harrington. The 62-year-old Pfeiffer University coach and teacher was poisoned by carbon monoxide in his townhome on Harbour Place Drive, in Davidson’s Exit 30 area.
“In both CO incidents and fires, early detection can prevent escalation to a serious or fatal condition,” Davidson Fire Chief Josh Peklo said in a press release. “Our goal is to have working and properly-installed detectors in every structure in Davidson.”
CARBON MONOXIDE’S DANGERS
As part of the camapign The Davidson Fire Department is trying to spread the word about the dangers of carbon monoxide, or CO, which is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.
CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it.
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death. Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.
PREVENTING CARBON MONOXIDE EXPOSURE
Here are some tips on preventing CO exposure from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
- Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
- Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
- Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
- Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
- Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
The Davidson Fire Department has received 315 smoke and CO detectors in recent months from corporate and community partners First Alert, Lowe’s Home Improvement in Huntersville, Walmart on Albemarle Road in Charlotte, and the Charlotte Professional Firefighter Association. The Davidson Fire Department has offered to help install detectors for all citizens, including those being handed out in connection with Nikko’s Smiling Heart Foundation.
Meawhile, town officials also are eying other possible safety improvements. In March, Davidson commissioners adopted a 2012 legislative lobbying agenda that included pushing for a bill that would allow local governments to require home fire sprinkler systems.
In a statement, Commissioner Rodney Graham welcomed the donation of the detectors. “These generous donations enable the Town of Davidson to offer these life-saving devices at no cost to citizens who need them. We are deeply appreciative of the support we have received from our corporate friends,” Commissioner Graham said.
Davidson residents may contact the fire station at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-940-9624 to arrange a free detector inspection or to request installation of free detectors.