To increase the safety of our responding paramedics, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services – Emergency Medical Service Division has equipped every paramedic crew with CO detectors to warn them of exposure to this toxic gas. Within the first week of being in operation, we had a CO detector sound an alarm. Paramedics arrived on the scene in response to a medical emergency. When entering the premise, the carbon monoxide detector attached to their heart monitor sounded, alerting them of the unsafe environment. They quickly removed the patient from the contaminated area and continued their treatment where it was safe to do so.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas and is known as the “silent killer”. More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue, are often mistaken for the flu. Prolonged exposure can lead to brain damage and even death.
Not only is this new device helping to keep our paramedics safe, it also provides valuable information from the scene that is passed along to the hospital staff. This important information can also be used to assist the doctor with diagnosing the patient’s condition.