Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Poses a Threat for Firefighters

Carbon monoxide poses a greater threat at fires than most EMS providers or firefighters are aware. Two news stories illustrate the dangers:

A Hillsboro, Ala., firefighter is in critical condition due to smoke inhalation after responding to a Dec. 12, 2005 mobile-home fire. Forty minutes into the response, EMS was called for firefighter Brian Reed, 27. He was listed in critical condition while awaiting transport to UA at Birmingham Hospital, and EMS reported that Reed's respiratory health was worsening and that his airway was increasingly restricted as they approached the hospital. The fire, which started at approximately 8 p.m., was under control by 10 p.m.

Also, three firefighters were hospitalized for CO inhalation after a Dec.12, 2005 fire in Chicago. The basement fire at a thrift store started at approximately 9:30 p.m. Ten firefighters were  brought to area hospitals for related respiratory symptoms. Fire officials initially suspected the crew had inhaled fumes from an ammonia-based chemical. By Monday evening, only three remained at Illinois Masonic Hospital, all in good condition, according to Chicago Fire Department officials.

To learn more about CO poisoning and earn free CE credits, visit and click on "Free Demo" in the Masimo ad to take "The Silent Killer."

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