Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday is the day of rest....

Nothing like discovering that the carbon monoxide detector in your walk out basement (where all the mechanicals are) is going off at 10 pm on a Sunday night.

Now mind you, the alarm had actually been going off since approximately 6 pm, but it took me four hours -- four hours! -- to find the source of the alarm. You would think when a place is only 1,000 square feet of finished space and perhaps 600 square feet of unfinished space, it would not exactly take a marathon to find an alarm.

You would think. Really, not just a hat rack. Really.

But the problem was that the alarm was not steady and was not loud. Of course, you would think that would be my first clue -- "hey, it's not a loud alarm numbskull, maybe it's down in the basement instead of inside the house".

Not just a hat rack. Really. I swear.

But instead, I did not think to look in the basement until I was taking Rilke out for his last potty break of the day. And then TADA, bright light flashes, light bulb clicks on above my head, it occurred to me. Duh. There are fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the basement, maybe one of those is the cause of the alarm.

And wow. What a surprise. Complete shocker. The alarm was emanating from there.

So my first thought, after I found the culprit, was that the alarm was not steady, therefore it could not be "serious". After all, aren't alarms rather like dating? If you are "going steady", you are serious. If an alarm is "going steady", it is serious.

Personally, I think it's brilliant logic.

So I figured the detector and/or the electric outlet must be faulty. So I simply moved the detector to another outlet, the alarm stopped. Tada. We're done.

I then go upstairs, confident all is well, post on Facebook (because life doesn't happen unless you've posted about it), and .... decide that maybe, just maybe, I ought to double-check my work before I pat myself on the back too many times.

So I google carbon monoxide, carbon monoxide poisoning, and carbon monoxide detectors. And for my PSA of the day, I will note the following important points here:
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after enough inhalation of carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect.
The acute effects produced by carbon monoxide in relation to ambient concentration in parts per million are listed below:[14][15]
Concentration Symptoms
35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours
200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.
 And interestingly, I learn the most important fact relevant to me -- as it is all about moi, you know -- from the First Alert store. I download the manual for the specific detector installed in the basement and learn that propane gas, which I have, is heavier than air, so carbon monoxide detectors should be installed low to the ground in houses with propane. (Natural gas, on the other hand, is lighter than air, so carbon monoxide detectors should be installed near the ceiling.) It also notes that the detectors should preferably be installed at least 20 feet from any potential source, like a furnace.

At this moment, it occurs to me that the new outlet I had moved the detector to was:
a) near the ceiling (the old one was closer to the ground);
b) right across from the furnace.

So I scurry back down stairs. And yes, I did scurry, and no, you do not want to see what that looks like.

I plug an extension cord into the new outlet, drag the extension cord and detector across the basement, and set the detector down on a low trunk. Within seconds it starts going off again.

Damn. Crap. Shit.

I tromp back upstairs. And yes, I did tromp, and yes, that means I made a lot of noise, including huffing and puffing. Literally.

I go to the phone, tears in my eyes (see earlier post "In Defense of Crying"), and dial 911. I'm very apologetic and bashful, she's very sweet and reassuring that they do this all the time, I absolutely should have called, etc.

So I would like to do a shout out to Jennifer at at the local County Rescue for not making me feel stupid. Because it really is not just a hat rack.

I then open the door, pull on my winter jacket, gloves, hat, and start pacing between outside (where it is a balmy 26 degrees) and inside (where I could be slowly dying -- but who's keeping track?).

Well, until Jennifer called back again, this time her turn to be bashful, to say "Um yeah. When you offered to give directions? Turns out we do actually need them." But hey, who's keeping track?

So I returned to pacing.... Oh, and part of the pacing was not just to keep warm (though that was a big part of it), part was also because -- of course -- all of my outdoor lights are on sensors. So to keep the front porch light on for the firetruck, I had to continually pace...

Because it's Murphy's Cabin. That's why.

The fireman actually parked their truck at the top of the drive and walked down. Because they definitely do not have just hat racks. So all the sudden, you see these little dots of light in the distance.... And all of the sudden Rilke goes nuts.

I have never ever heard him bark so loud, so deep, so.... frankly scary. Damn it was impressive. I was so proud of my little guy.... until he peed in fright as they got closer...

Well, he tried. And that's all that matters right? Actually, what really matters is that even the firemen said they actually thought I had some huge vicious dog down here.... until they saw him, and started giggling.

And if you've ever wondered if firemen giggle, I can now attest they do. And on that note, if you've ever had a fireman dream? I recommend you come here, because... damn. And um yeah.... I hadn't actually managed to shower in two days....

Because it's Murphy's Cabin. That's why.

I had managed to put the bourbon bottle away though. So that's something!

Long story short, they ran their little meters all over my house, ran their other meter on me (oh get your minds out of the gutters! It's a little thing they clasp over your finger, and that's it!), and.... All was clear.

Of course, as they left, they did firmly instruct me to watch myself for symptoms, especially vomiting. So I am now on vomit watch.

Because it's Murphy's Cabin. That's why.

1 comment:

  1. Carbon monoxide poisoning has an acute effect produced by carbon monoxide in relation to our body. It should need a proper guidelines on how to use it and right judgment to those who's liable in case of accidents and death.

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