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Jason DiRenza, a 10 year old Scout, has loved to tinker with tools and toys, a hobby that propelled him to the national stage with an invention designed to give people more time to escape houses that are filling with deadly carbon monoxide gas.

The Connecticut Safety Society honored him for the inclusion of safety, health, and environmental principles and ideologies into his invention, and he also received an award from the judges for the top invention in his judging circle

Jason said he got the idea for his invention over lunch one day with his family when a discussion came up about how, in a mishap that happened years ago, their home had filled with carbon monoxide and the fire department had to come and turn on a large fan to air it out.

Jason got to thinking, "why doesn't the house just already activate a fan instead?"

Thus began his work to create a model home, in which he installed a smoke detector — he used that instead of a more expensive carbon monoxide detector to cut costs — a fan, batteries, and a series of wires connecting them all.

When the detector goes off, a pulse is sent to the fan, turning it on and blowing carbon monoxide out of the house, allowing those inside more time to escape. His invention is able to funnel the carbon monoxide out of the home because it's installed near an air duct.

More at source with photo:

Online: https://bit.ly/2k7IJZN

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Kudos to the scout for his inquisitiveness and inventiveness.  

The article doesn't really answer his original question, why doesn't the house activate a fan when there's a build up of CO.  Does anyone know whether there would be a good reason not to have a CO alarm also trigger a fan, either a whole house fan or something attached to the HVAC system, to vent to the outside and begin reducing CO during an evacuation? 

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As part of Safety MB discussion, we experimented with CO detectors.  With parent permission, scouts  brought these residential monitors  and these were placed in a boxed enclosure around a tailpipe.  Engine running and after 45 minutes, none of detector alarms went off.  A neighbor fireman brought the dept sniffer which said the box was over 800ppm. Around 55min some detector alarms went off.

The point was to show scouts that these CO are very slow to set off an alarm ("Alarm Response Time") and to consider how that would affect your family safety plan. 

Here is a chart from Kidde website.  

Carbon monoxide levels that will set off your alarm 

Carbon Monoxide Level    Alarm Response Time
40 PPM 10 hours
50 PPM 8 hours
70 PPM 1 to 4 hours
150 PPM 10 to 50 minutes
400 PPM 4 to 15 minutes

Carbon monoxide levels and their symptoms

IMPORTANT: If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, or you suspect you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should immediately leave your home and call 9-1-1.

For carbon monoxide levels and their symptoms, refer to the following:  

50 PPM

None for healthy adults. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), this is the maximum allowable concentration for continuous exposure for healthy adults in any eight-hour period.

200 PPM Slight headache, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea after two to three hours.
400 PPM Frontal headaches with one to two hours. Life threatening after three hours.
800 PPM Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 minutes. Unconsciousness within two hours. Death within two to three hours.
1,600 PPM Headache, dizziness and nausea within 20 minutes. Death within one hour.
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