SUMMIT, NJ - As winter-caliber cold weather has now arrived in the Hilltop City -- and, with it, the potential frequent use of heating appliances -- the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad (SVFAS) is reminding residents to ensure that all buildings have a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector as well as smoke detectors.

In addition to heating systems, gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment such as generators are also a common source of CO. Running a vehicle or generator inside a garage or too close to a building is a common cause of CO poisoning. 

A recent incident in Summit brought a response from the Summit Fire Department, Summit Police Department, Union County HazMat team as well as the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad after reports of an activated carbon monoxide (CO) detector along with a person feeling ill.

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Members of the Summit First Aid Squad responded with two ambulances and also requested assistance from neighboring Millburn-Short Hills First Aid Squad. Nine people were evaluated for possible CO poisoning. Fortunately, all were cleared and declined transport to a hospital.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that cannot be detected by people. We cannot see, smell or taste it.  Once symptoms such as a headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath develop, exposure has already taken place. In the U.S. last year, 430 people died from CO poisoning and more than 50,000 required a visit to a hospital.

The all-volunteer Summit First Aid Squad -- which responds to emergency calls 24/7 -- is entirely funded through private donations and does not bill for service. The Squad has 85 members, including 20 junior members, and is always looking for new volunteers to join its ranks. All needed training, uniforms and equipment is provided. For information on becoming a volunteer, or donating to the squad please call 908-277-9479, or visit summitems.org.