Monthly Safety Message
April Safety Message
We here at the Tega Cay fire Department would like to share a recent call that we ran over the Easter Weekend. On Saturday morning, the Tega Cay Fire Department was called out to a residence in the Lakeshore Community. A Resident who has a working carbon Monoxide/ explosive gas meter in the upstairs of his home called because the detector had activated. The Resident thought it may be the batteries, which he changed and installed new ones and relocated it to the kitchen of the home. The detector kept going off, that's when he decided to contact the Tega Cay Fire Department and have us come out and check the home. Once on scene, we used a combination of multi-gas meters and an explosive gas meter and it alerted us to the presence of a hazardous condition. The Homeowner, a very smart man, had already evacuated his family from the residence, which was a great move on his part. We here at the Fire Department made sure everyone was away from the home, contacted the natural gas company for assistance and very careful, as to not create any sparks, manually ventilate the home where the largest concentrations were noted by our meters. Right now, as you are reading this one is likely to surmise the root of the problem, natural gas leaking from the diaphragm or valve on a hot water heater, a gas log stove, gas for the HVAC heating unit for the residence or a gas stove in the Kitchen. All are great guesses and you would be right in 99% of all carbon monoxide detector calls....except for this one. The culprit? a golf cart that was left charging overnight in the garage with the garage overhead door closed. What the meters that we use here at the Tega Cay Fire Department were picking up was hydrogen. The lead batteries that power the golf cart was not emitting carbon monoxide, they were emitting hydrogen and will activate a carbon monoxide detector. Please note that hydrogen shares many of the same characteristics as carbon monoxide. It is clear, odorless and can make an individual, dizzy, have a headache and feel nauseous. These are the same as carbon monoxide. Electric golf carts use batteries that, when in good working condition, do not emit any gasses when being charged. now, in the event of faulty, old or broken battery, there is the potential for hydrogen to be emitted.
After this happened on Saturday, we began doing some background on situations like this and have found that these types of calls are becoming more frequent as the popularity of electric golf carts and even some electric cars that plug in gain in popularity. We are not trying to unnecessarily alarm the public but as a precaution the Tega Cay Fire Department would strongly encourage every electric golf cart owner to ensure that the golf carts are well maintained and batteries are in proper working condition and to charge electric golf cart batteries in a well ventilated space. At the very least, the Tega Cay Fire Department would recommend that all homes with a golf cart have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home to potentially detect any possible emissions. The Homeowner from the Easter weekend invested $60 in the carbon monoxide/explosive gas meter in his home and it potentially saved him tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as potentially saving his and his family's lives.
We hope these safety tips are useful and of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here at the Tega Cay Fire Department. We have a full time staff that is available 24 hours and day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Until next month--KEEP ON LIVING THE GOOD LIFE--in Tega Cay!