Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023 - 70

FIRE SIDE CHAT by Shane Clary
SMARTS & PARTS
CO Remains as Misunderstood as It Is Elusive
THIS ARTICLE is being written in Wilmington, N.C. I
have just attended the annual meeting of the National
Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM). During this
meeting was the inaugural CO Safety Summit. The Summit was
being conducted by the Carbon Monoxide Safety Coalition.
The Coalition is an off shoot of the National Carbon Monoxide
Awareness Association (NCOAA).
The objective of NCOAA and the Coalition is to bring awareness
on the issue of long-term exposure to CO. It is the opinion
of the NCOAA that a high number of medical issues that are
misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all are caused by long-term
exposure to CO.
There are requirements within the
model codes for CO detection within
single-family dwellings. There are
also requirements for CO detection in
multiresidential occupancies in which
fuel burning appliances are present.
There are also mandated requirements
for educational occupancies.
The CO detectors that are required
by these codes are designed to detect
high levels of CO, in which there is
an impending risk of a person being
overcome by carbon monoxide.
There are two UL standards that cover
upon the level. The concern that the coalition has is long-term
exposure to lower amounts of CO.
The symptoms may appear to being caused by the fl u,
COVID-19 or other ailments. Physicians are not taking a look at
the percentage of CO that a person may have within their body.
It was the opinion of a few of the participants of the summit that:
■ Detectors or alarms should be installed to detect lower
amounts of CO within an environment.
■ Detectors or alarms should be installed within more occupancy
classifi cations, if not all occupancies.
■ There needs to be an outreach to the general medical profession
to look for low level exposure to CO, and how to test
for it.
During the summit, four workgroups
It is the opinion
of the NCOAA that
a high number of
medical issues that
are misdiagnosed or
not diagnosed at all
are caused by longterm
exposure to CO.
CO alarms and detectors. UL 2034, Single
and Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide
Alarms covers the manufacturing and testing of CO alarms. These
are devices that one would purchase at a hardware store.
They are powered by an internal battery or 120VAC with a
secondary battery. One of the requirements for these units is
that they have an end-of-life alert at the 10-year mark.
UL 2075, Gas and Vapor Detectors and Sensors covered in
part CO detectors, that are connected to an alarm system.
The requirements for the installation, inspection, testing
and monitoring of these alarms and detectors are found within
NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. As I stated
above, these alarms and detectors are installed within an occupancy
to alert the occupants that they need to leave, now!
These devices will active under three conditions:
■ 70-149 parts per million one to four hours for activation
■ 150-399 parts per million 10 to 50 minutes for activation
■ 400+ parts per million Within four minutes of activation
Levels at 400 parts per million or more is extremely hazardous
to one's health. Exposure to the other levels that are listed
above also become dangerous with a few hours, depending
were established:
1. Codes, Standards and Regulations
2. Surveillance Data
3. Science and Innovation
4. Emergency and Trade Response
Not only is the NCOAA concerned
about the long-term exposure that can
occur within an occupancy, but the exposure
to CO that fi refi ghters may have
during the execution of their work. On
of the byproducts of combustion is CO.
In addition to building structures,
there was also discussions on the need
for CO detection within various means
of transportation, such as cars and trucks, boats and even commercial
aircraſt .
A number of the members of the NCOAA are very passionate
about the dangers of CO, as they have lost loved ones to CO exposure.
While there does need to be education on the dangers
of long-term exposure to CO, there also needs to be education
regarding CO detection to the NCOAA.
During the summit, there were some incorrect statements
being made on the siting requirements for CO alarms and
detectors.
The CO detection industry needs to become involved with the
NCOAA and Coalition so that reasonable regulations, codes and
standards are promulgated. The working groups well be meeting
virtually during the next year and are being tasked to have
recommendations by the second annual meeting to be held in
July/August 2024.
While I have stated that reasonable regulations, codes and
standards need to be looked at, the mission of the NCOAA and
Coalition are vital and needed. SSI
SHANE CLARY, PH.D., is an SSI Industry Hall of Famer and has more than 45 years of security and fi re alarm industry experience. He serves
on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of codes and standards compliance for Concord, Calif.-headquartered Bay
Alarm Co. He can be reached at smclary@bayalarm.com.
70 Commercial Integrator+Security Sales & Integration | Sept/Oct 2023

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023

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