Sunday, December 29, 2013

PSA—Emergency in the Condo

I’m gonna tell you something that might save your life.
Dateline: Friday, December 27. Two days after Christmas and it started like any other day. TW was still sickie but her coughing had let up some. She dragged herself out of bed and went over to the computer to help me answer e-mail and visit my furrends. I was in my mauve thing, sleeping dictating to her. Suddenly, some terribly loud beeping caught our attention. TW jumped up. This wasn’t the neighbor’s beeping. This was OUR beeping.

She ran the three steps to look at the carbon monoxide detector, which was sounding loudly. 54. She was still in her pj’s so she ran to jump into some clothes. She struggled into some pants and looked at the still beeping CO detector. 58. She quickly turned off the thermostat so the heat would turn off, opened the windows some, locked her bedroom door, called the front desk and then dialed 911. I was right next to her. I knew she needed a steady paw to relax her. Although she was shaking on the outside, she was cool and calm on the inside like she knew just what to do. Since she didn’t know where PSEG’s phone number was, she knew it was a good bet to call the fire department.

911: What's the emergency?
TW: My CO detector is beeping. It’s reading 58.
The operator read our address to her and axed if she was feeling faint or lightheaded. (Bad question cos TW is always faint and lightheaded.) Can you stay on the line for a minute while I alert the fire department?
TW: Yes.
She heard the operator give FD our address.
911: If you feel like you’re in danger, leave the apartment.

TW looked at the reading. 40. She stayed behind to call Pop. She told him she couldn’t leave me behind. Tears are beginning to form in the kitteh’s eyes. Did she really say that?

Pop told her to try to get me into the PTU but I wasn’t having any of it. I couldn’t get into my office since she locked the door so I stayed with her. What she did next will leave you dazed and stunned.

SHE PICKED UP THE WRAPPING PAPER. ALL OF IT!! MY WRAPPING PAPER!

SOB SOB!
She said she couldn’t have people coming in to see all that paper on the floor. As she finally got her jacket and headed out the door, she met the firemen coming up the elevator. They were quick. She barely hung up the phone and she heard the sirens.

When the barrage of men baring 40 lbs of apparatus came bursting in, I pried Pop’s closet open and jumped inside.

Yep, they got a reading all right. The reading was high in the furnace room and even by the stove. TW stayed outside the door in the hallway. The new Super showed up and he came in. The firemen turned off the gas and opened the windows as far as they’d go. TW didn’t know where I was and kept telling the firemen not to let me out. They wanted to leave the door wide open to cross-ventilate with the open hall windows. She went inside to look for me. When she realized where I was, she closed Pop’s door and then let them leave the apartment door open, knowing I couldn’t get out.

The firemen were thorough and checked levels in other apartments on our floor. The apartment next door where they have the newborn baby had a reading of 19. My question is: why didn’t they have a CO detector in there?

They checked the apartments below us. Since CO rises, they wanted to see where it was coming from. The apartment right beneath us had a reading over 90. Why didn’t they have a CO detector? Don’t people realize CO is deadly?

TW was out in the hall chatting up the Super and the firemen while they waited forever for Public Service Electric & Gas to arrive on the scene. She make stupid jokes like she’d offer them tea but her gas had been shut off. A couple of times she remembered she had a cat and came in to check on me. Once, she even brought me my kibble since I was now out of hiding. Hours later, the gas man came upstairs. He was in our apartment about 1 minute. He saw the levels were 0 so he turned on the gas and left.

It wasn’t over. TW heard the hum of the hot water heater but the furnace never turned back on. Another call to the Super, who came up and discovered PSEG turned the furnace back on but never turned the gas on. Duh! Bob—they’re on a first-name basis now–stayed until the heat went on to make sure everything was OK. He told her, he was going to put a fan in the chimney so a back draft couldn’t blow the CO back into the apartment. We heard him on the roof later so we know he kept his word.

To this kitteh, it seemed like TW was out in the hall hours—days even—but she says it was about 2 hours.

PSA: Carbon monoxide detectors save lives. If you don’t have one, you need to get one and keep a fresh battery in it. If you have one over 5 years old, it needs to be replaced because the sensor wears out. We have a Kidde model like the one in the photo on the right. TW and I might not be here to post this if we didn’t have one.

NOTE: Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, gas refrigerators, gas clothes dryers, gas ranges, gas water heaters or space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal grills, and wood burning stoves. Fumes from automobiles and gas-powered lawn mowers also contain carbon monoxide and can enter a home through walls or doorways if an engine is left running in an attached garage.

46 comments:

Patty Woodland said...

The male person is fire chief and he says that you gave very good advice CK.

I am very glad that TW was not hurt or didn't get sick from the carbon monoxide.

Katnip Lounge said...

Thank COD you're OK!! We have a detector, too.

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

I know that was stressful and traumatic for both you and TW, but my human started cracking up when she read about TW picking up the wrapping paper! Sounds like something she would have done (although NOTHING can help the office). I am glad you're both okay.

We only have a carbon monoxide reader for the lower level of the house. The living room level, where our office is, doesn't have one - and we really need one here, since that is where I spend most of my time. And my human too.

The Swiss Cats said...

Scary ! We're glad you're OK ! Mum didn't understand the situation at the first reading as we have electricity for cooking and oil for healing here, until she realized you had gas. It's available at home, but we don't use it for the moment, and we will use it the day we will have to change the boiler (and we will remember your advices !). Purrs

Molly The Wally said...

OMD thankfully you were all OK.
Best wishes Molly

Random Felines said...

how very scary - but good advice and we are so very glad you had a detector and a good super in the building :)

Sometimes, Cats Herd You said...

How scary, CK! We didn't know that the sensor wore out in five years, and the one in our garage is older than that. We'll remind the peeps to replace it.

Brian said...

That is so scary CK, really scary. We have one of those things and it is pretty new. Great advice CK!!!

CatInTheFridge said...

I guess we didn't realize those are important in apartments, too. Thank you! Glad you're ok. - Crepes.

The Island Cats said...

Wow, CK, that musta been kinda scary. We're glad you and TW are okay. We have a CO detector in our house, but the mom says it's a cheap one and she thinks she should get a better one. We're gonna bug her until she does.

Maxwell, Faraday and Allie said...

EXCELLENT PSA - very important information. We're so very glad you had one with fresh batteries and that you all are safe!

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

MeWowZa! Frightening! But you were prepared and it may have saved your life! Thanks for sharing this personal story! Our house is all electric, but we will keep this in mind if we ever move!

Melissa and Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and More) said...

So, so scary and we are so glad you're all safe. Awhile back ours started beeping and we freaked. Turns out it was only good for 7 years and that was the signal to replace it. Haven't yet but now we see how important it is!!!

Katie and Glogirly said...

We're SO relieved everything is ok...
Very scary. Thanks for the important PSA, CK!
...we heard the firemen were kinda cute too. ; )
Maybe that's why TW wanted to offer them tea.
xo

ANGEL ABBY said...

Thank COD the CO detector did it's job!!! Woo hoo CK we are glad everything is OK!!!

julier said...

That is a very good reminder for those who use gas in their homes, CK. We have an all electric home here in Oregon because electricity is cheap here. But it did remind me to check our Smoke Detectors for fire!
.....Thank you, Izzy & his mommy Julie

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

We are so glad you had a Carbon monoxide detector. When Mommy and Daddy first bought this house it had a fireplace that some idiot converted to gas. Mommy nearly died because of it. The first thing they did was rip the fireplace out so we don't have to worry about Carbon monoxide anymore, we are all electric.

We refer to the fireplace conversion as idiotic as the person didn't know what he/she was doing and not only did the gas leak but also water was running into the wall from the chimney, when it rained not good at all. Silly Daddy didn't listen when Mommy told him she could hear water running down the chimney until he went to replace the window and saw where the idiot had routed the water to run out into the wall from the chimney.

Jans Funny Farm said...

Glad you had one and you are all okay!

Mariodacatsmom said...

WOW - your story is a prime example of why people should have one of those dector things. We have one, but fortunately, it has never gone off. I don't understand why everyone doesn't have one - it should be a requirement in every building - especially apartments where several families live. Glad you and the humans are okay.

The Furries of Whisppy said...

Our house uses electric so we probably don't need a CO detector. But thank you for posting about this. We're glad you are all okay and that you had a CO detector!

Eileen said...

Thank Cod you had the detector since no one else around you were smart enough to have one. Mom says we has a detector here near the furnace and water heater. We hopes we never has to use it.

Sasha, Sami, & Saku

Anonymous said...

GREAT POST CK!!! Can't believe people still don't ALL have CO monitors! In CA it is a legal requirement in every home, apt, hotel room etc. Doesn't mean the people are all smart enough to keep the batteries up and I did not know that they need to be replaced every 5 years so will check ours today. Thanks!

Bernadette said...

We're so glad you're safe CK! And that TW had equipped your home with detectors and actually knew what to do--she probably saved a few lives in addition to yours, which is, of course, the most important.

PDX pride said...

Soooo glad that you are all ok! Thank God for CO detectors! Thank you for the reminder; especially important as the new year approaches and the cold weather means more people using their heating systems. Can't believe the person below you had levels of 90+ in their place!!!!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow CK.....what an adventure of the NOT GOOD kind that was. Thank heavens all is well now but you raise GOOD questions - where were all the CO detectors in the other condos???!!! It's deadly and we're told that endlessly yet people decide they don't need one. Think again. So happy your Human was on the ball and you were in the closet. Whew! Never a dull moment eh?

Hugs, Sam

biggie55 said...

glad you are ok and for the advice i will get a detector tomm

Austin Towers said...

Good Grief CK! I go away for a few days and look at the trouble you get into!! Despite all the things you say about her, I think TW is a pretty good ol' gal. She kept her cool even though she was sick! I dunno, but I think she might be a keeper!!

PeeEss I hope you had a super Christmas. I reckon the wrapping paper will keep you going for a while ;) xx

Caren Gittleman said...

Oh my!! I was terrified when I read this! Thank goodness you are all ok!!!!! I have a smoke alarm but not a Carbon monoxide detector, better get one!

Derby, Ducky said...

Glad you are OK. Mum has a detector in the house, plus if it beeped she would open the windows, regardless of how cold it might be. Call 911.

Hope that the building takes a close look at all furnaces etc.

Katie Isabella said...

I commented quite a bit but where did it go I wonder? Google has eaten too many of my comments lately! Makes me mad. You are all VERY fortunate to have that alarm. I got one several years ago. Stay safe pretty girl.
Xxxooo

Pasha said...

Oh CK, you must have been terrified! We're glad it sounded when it was supposed to and everything went ok!

The Cat From Hell said...

CK - Your Pawrents is ROCK STARS!!! They has installed a CO2 detector and they keeps yous safe!
Your Mommy and Daddy Loves yous Furry Much
Special Kisses to yous GirlFriend
Nellie

Clooney said...

Wow, that is a scary experience for sure! So relieved that you are all ok and that the firemen came over so quickly.

dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

You have a very good mummy, my dear. I'm so glad you're all safe.

Anonymous said...

Holy cat! That's too much excitement. Good thing you guys had the CO2 detectors though. I'd hate for anything to happen to you! *hugs*

Sushi said...

OMC! Thank goodness you are safe! Anyway, would like to greet you...
*´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Have a Blessed and Prosperous New Year!

Tamago said...

Oh my, what a scary experience! So glad you are ok! Great advise about the detector. It sure saved life of everyone in the apartment!

Kjelle Bus said...

Thank Cod that you are OK and that you have smart humans that have a Carbon monoxide detector !!

XOXO

Jobi Harris said...

What an ordeal! We are so happy that you are safe. TW sure took quick action in spite of being dazed and confused (we kitties know all about that kind of human). How special you are to tell the story and let everyone know how important it is to have that alarm!

shorty said...

Thank you CK, I'm so glad you were ok & knew to stay low to the floor but you should run into your carrier its safe in there. Glad it all was fixed & everythings back to normal.

Willow said...

Bravo to TW for knowing what to do and having a Carbon Monoxide Detector she saved the neighbors. Glad everything is okay now.

meowmeowmans said...

Thank COD you and TW are okay, CK. That is so scary. We are really glad you have carbon monoxide detectors -- we do, too!

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

Eek! That was a skeery skeery story! We think we will go get one-a them ASAP! We have a gas stove and steam heat--we guess that means there's gas in the boiler room. Thank Cod you had the meter!

My mancave is not new! It's the first "cube" I ever had ;-) But there's plenty of room for a petite LadyCat like yourself... Come on over!

Ann Staub said...

This was such a suspenseful story! Sounds like everyone woulda been in big trouble if TW didn't have her detector. I have a horrible story from when I was a teenager lol... I had an old gas heater in my room. One of those fancy ones that are pretty and like 100 years old. My friend was spending the night and my detector started beeping. Idk what we did the night before because I just got up and opened the window, turned off the heater and went back to sleep. Probably not the bestest idea ever!

M Dawson said...

Here in New Zealand many people still have wood fires (barbaric but true) and we have warm air heating and over here Smoke Alarms are probably the same sort of things - right?

Marjorie

Katie Isabella said...

Very excellent advice. I finally got one for our home a few years ago. xoxox