Carbon dioxide is part of our atmosphere. We breathe it every day. It’s a harmless gas to humans until it reaches certain levels. If not properly monitored, an increase in CO2 can lead to unconsciousness, asphyxiation or death.
The employees and customers of a Roy Rogers restaurant in Burtonsville, Maryland almost learned that the hard way on August 5.
Firefighters from Prince George County were dining at the establishment when the chemical detectors on their uniforms began to alarm. Employees assured them there were no issues within the restaurant.
Checking for a malfunction, the firefighters stepped outside to clear their detectors with fresh air but once they stepped back inside the alarms sounded again.
That was all the proof they needed that something was amiss. They evacuated the building and called Montgomery Country fire crews for assistance.
When a crew arrived, they confirmed a CO2 leak and traced it to a soda machine. CO2 is used to carbonate soda (it’s what gives the drink its fizz and bubbles). As a result of the leak, 14 people were evaluated for CO2 exposure and four employees were taken to the hospital.
If not for the quick thinking from the Prince George firefighters, the results could have been much worse.
Because carbon dioxide is odorless, it’s difficult to detect. That’s why monitors such as the Analox Ax60 are a worthwhile investment for businesses, specifically those in the hospitality and beverage industry.
The Analox Ax60 is a wall-mountable carbon dioxide detector consisting of a central display with multiple alarm and sensor units. Due to the busy and noisy nature of the industry, the Ax60 offers three levels of alarms, and an audible sounder and a high-intensity LED strobe light.
In this case, the Roy Rogers restaurant was not equipped with a monitor. A properly installed Ax60 would have allowed the restaurant to correct this potentially tragic situation (and similar instances) as soon as it began.