Facts you may not know about the Fire Department

Why did a fire truck arrive when I called 911 for an Ambulance?

  We classify medical emergency runs in two categories: Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS). An Ambulance what is commonly referred to as a Medic(ie medic 182), has a two paramedic crew. The fire trucks also have a paramedic onboard and most of the ALS equipment including the same type of heart monitor found on the Medics.

  If the dispatcher determines that your call to 911 is a ALS emergency then a Medic and an Engine are dispatched. Fire trucks are sent on ALS runs to provide additional manpower if needed. Sometimes the emergency vehicles don’t respond from the same firehouse. If the closest Medic is tied up on another emergency, then the next closest is dispatched. Madison township has automatic and mutual aid agreements with neighboring departments to make assigning the closest unit available virtually seamless.

  There are occasions in which a fire truck will respond to a BLS run, because they are closer. In that scenario the responding Medic is out of position, returning from a hospital or the next closest Medic is responding. The closest Fire truck will respond and provide care until the Medic crew arrives. Fire trucks also respond on auto accidents, fire is always a possibility when vehicles crash and the fire crews lend a hand to Medic crews when there are several occupants. Heavy Rescue trucks also respond with the equipment needed to open jammed doors on cars, stabilize overturned vehicles, and extricate trapped occupants.

  Submit your questions about the fire service to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  Jim Embree
  Madison Township Fire Department


Monoxide Can Be Deadly
FF. Rashid Taylor

Particularly during this time of the year, you often hear stories about people suffering from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Even more die from CO produced by idling cars. Infants, elderly people, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible.

Prevention is your first defense against Carbon Monoxide poisoning

Have your fuel-burning appliances -- including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves -- inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.

Choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside whenever possible, have them properly installed, and maintain them according to manufacturers’ instructions.

Read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel-burning.

Never idle the car in the garage, even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up quickly in the garage and living area of your home.

Never use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.

Never use a charcoal grill indoors -- even in a fireplace.

Never sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.

Never use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.

Never ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors are widely available in stores and you may want to consider buying one as a back-up, but not as a replacement for proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances.

First, don’t let buying a CO detector lull you into a false sense of security. Preventing CO from becoming a problem make an informed decision. Look for UL certification on any smoke or carbon monoxide detector you purchase.

  If the CO detector alarm goes off:

•  Make sure it is your CO detector and not your smoke detector.

• Check to see if any member of the household is experiencing symptoms of poisoning.

•  If they are, get them out of the house immediately and seek medical attention. Tell the doctor that you suspect CO poisoning.

•  If no one is feeling symptoms, ventilate the home with fresh air, turn off all potential sources of CO -- your oil or gas furnace, gas water heater, gas range and oven, gas dryer, gas or kerosene space heater and any vehicle or small engine.

•  Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating correctly and that there is nothing blocking the fumes from being vented out of the house.

Make sure you are aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning. At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. You can even die if these levels persist for a long time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause.

If you experience symptoms that you think could be from CO poisoning:

Get to fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off combustion appliances and leave the house. Go to an emergency room and tell the physician you suspect CO poisoning. If CO poisoning has occurred, it can often be diagnosed by a blood test done soon after exposure.

Be prepared to answer the following questions for the doctor:

• Do your symptoms occur only in the house? Do they disappear or decrease when you leave home and reappear when you return?

• Is anyone else in your household complaining of similar symptoms? Did everyone’s symptoms appear about the same time?

•  Are you using any fuel-burning appliances in the home?

•  Has anyone inspected your appliances lately? Are you certain they are working properly?

If you are ever in doubt, contact 911 from outside the residence. Your local fire department has specialized equipment to determine the levels of CO in your home. Our job is to protect you and your family. Our first line of defense is you.