Carbon monoxide devices for Lexington firefighters nearing expiration

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Firefighters say it can save lives, but they tell us without some help this winter many of them won't be able to use the device that can detect carbon monoxide in homes.

Monday night, WKYT told you about a Lexington man's death that investigators think was caused by carbon monoxide. Now firefighters are sending out a dire message. Some of their detectors used to locate carbon monoxide leaks are no longer working.

"24 hours a day, seven days a week that thing stays on," explains Battalion Chief Ed Davis, "the alarm will go off. It'll start beeping. It's very shrill."

It alerts emergency crews to carbon monoxide - sometimes lingering inside homes.

"If they walk in a home or a business where there's carbon monoxide, that'll go off and alert them that there's a danger."

Chief Davis says most of the time, people call EMS crews because they're sick. And later, find out it's from carbon monoxide inside their home or garage.

"We had one as recently as September 30th. A couple was at home. The man was actually sick, was throwing up, did not want to go to the hospital. When the ambulance crew walked in the alarm went off. They would not have survived the night, the levels were so high on their home."

The city has 12 emergency crews that use those carbon monoxide monitors, but right now Chief Davis says only seven crews have working monitors.

"They have a two-year life span and we're well past two years on them and they are dying on a fairly regular basis."

Chief Davis says they cost $130 each. They are currently writing grants, hoping to get the funds to buy new ones.

"By putting one on every ambulance, that does make people a whole lot safer in the city."

With carbon monoxide scares at their peak during the winter, Chief Davis wants to get new alarms fast.

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