Two HVAC-related groups recently worked together to teach carbon monoxide safety and protect senior citizens from effects of the poisonous gas.

The Pikes Peak Mechanical Contractors Association, officials from IntelliTec College in Colorado Springs, and the Carbon Monoxide Safety Association gave safety instruction and personal CO monitors to bus drivers from Silver Key Senior Services Jan. 7 as part of the college’s “Monoxide Manor.”

The monitors will alert drivers if their buses or the homes of seniors they visit contain detectable levels of the gas. Carbon monoxide can be generated by auto exhaust, poorly maintained gas appliances, wood-burning stoves, snow throwers, gasoline-powered generators, barbeques and other combustion sources.

It’s important to test for the odorless gas, said Bob Dwyer, the COSA training director.

“Not all heating contractors or all PPMCA members currently measure for carbon monoxide when in buildings and the consumer should be aware enough to ask them if they will be testing for it when they come to do work for them,” Dwyer said.

The PPMCA includes HVAC contractors, plumbers, supply houses and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, Better Business Bureau, the Colorado Springs Utilities and Black Hills Energy.

“This area is a model for community carbon monoxide safety that also includes fire department response with on-site CO testing of citizens to evaluate the extent of the poisoning, gas utility building entry testing and support when CO is found and, a carbon monoxide task force facilitated by the Energy Resource Center that meets regularly to help discuss community partnerships and CO safety,” Dwyer said.

“It is all about measurement,” he added. “If you don’t test, you don’t know. Measurement is educational and can save lives.”