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Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Detectors - UL Standard

"According to UL Standard 2034, home carbon monoxide detectors must sound a warning before carbon monoxide levels reach 100 parts per million over 90 minutes, 200 parts per million over 35 minutes or 400 parts per million over 15 minutes. The standard requires the alarm must sound before an average, healthy adult begins to experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The warning provides time to evacuate the premises." For more information on Carbon Monoxide poisoning please refer to the American Red Cross Fact Sheet (pdf).

What do I do if my Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm sounds?

If the CO alarm goes off

  • Carbon Monoxide detectors are located in areas where fuel burning equipment is present.  The Carbon Monoxide Detector Locations (doc) provides a list of campus locations where Carbon Monoxide detectors are currently installed.

  • If a Carbon Monoxide alarm activates in your resident hall evacuate and pull the nearest fire pull station to alert others to evacuate and;

  • All Students, Faculty, Staff or Visitors in resident halls when the alarm is activated shall move to fresh air and assemble at the pre designated assembly site

  • Area Director, Head Resident or Resident Assistant will check to make sure that everyone in the resident hall /house is accounted for.

  • Do not re-enter the resident hall until told to do so by Campus Police, Williamsburg Fire Department, Fire Safety Officer or Fire Protection System Supervisor. 

  • In the event the Carbon Monoxide detector chirps then this is a sign of low battery. Students, Faculty or Staff should request Emergency Services from Maintenance Facilities service line, (757)221-2275, which is open from 7 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday to take emergency service calls. All calls for emergency service (situations that are life threatening or likely to cause severe damage to a College building or facility) should be called in immediately. Call 911 for fire alarms or suspect fires or Carbon Monoxide alarms. At night, during weekends, or on holidays, the Campus Police Dispatcher, (757)221-4596, should be called in the event of an emergency. The 911 emergency call can also be used.

How can I avoid CO poisoning?

  The most important steps are preventive ones by just having a qualified professional inspect the fuel-burning appliances at least once a year. Each year on campus Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance company inspects and certifies all pressure fire boilers and pressure vessels. Each year Johnston Chimney Sweep cleans, inspects and certifies all fireplaces and chimneys for Dupont, Pate Whitehead Evans building 8800 lounge, Sororities (with the exception of the 2nd floor fireplace in House 1), Lodges, Tazewell and Taliaferro use for the up coming academic year.   Other precautions include: · That no fires shall be ignited in any student room and; · Avoid using low pressure gas grills inside any resident halls, sorority houses, tent, or in an unventilated garage also; · Don't allow vehicle exhaust fumes to enter any sleeping area; and · Make sure all fuel-burning appliances are properly ventilated and ; · The uses of propane or fuel fire heaters are prohibited in any resident life hall.

 Do CO alarms operate differently than smoke alarms?

Although they may look and sound similar, CO alarms and smoke alarms are designed and intended to detect two separate, distinct hazards.

 Will exposure to other gases or vapors cause the CO alarm to sound a false alarm?

When UL evaluates samples of residential CO alarms, consideration is made that areas may contain moderate levels of cleaning chemicals and other substances. UL 2034, the Standard UL engineers and technicians use to test residential carbon monoxide alarms, includes exposure tests to normal concentrations of methane, butane, heptane, ethyl acetate (nail polish remover), isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), carbon dioxide and propane -- all gases that would typically be found in your area. You should, however, keep these chemicals away from your CO alarms. Low exposure over an extended period of time could damage the sensing device and cause your alarm to sound a false alarm.    

Important note Housekeeping: household cleaners, aerosol chemicals, and other contaminants can affect the sensor. When using any of these materials near the alarm, make sure the room is well ventilated.