Chatham Emergency Services Update

By Hunter Marr - HMarr@chathames.org
Chief, Skidaway Division

We have had two topics come up in the past few months and believe it is important to share some safety information, as these are common issues in our community.

Unexpected Golf Cart Hazard

Golf carts are part of our lifestyle in The Landings. While golf carts are used for golf, they can also be used to travel to a prime fishing spot, chase sunsets, and visit friends. I have even heard a rumor that some teenagers are using them. At the end of the day, we plug in our carts and carry on with the evening. You may not realize that this simple act can be one that can cost you dearly. When golf cart batteries charge, they emit hydrogen, an odorless, colorless gas that is highly flammable. Hydrogen is a double-whammy type of gas, as it can cause suffocation and catch fire. When hydrogen levels reach four-to-seven percent, it becomes explosive, and a simple touch of a light switch can be the ignition mechanism.

Luckily, there are a few easy steps that can minimize this risk. The first step is simple, as it should be done to prolong the life of your batteries. Set a monthly reminder to topoff your golf cart batteries with distilled water. If the water level drops too low, hydrogen is emitted. Also, replace older batteries, as they are more likely to emit hydrogen and lack safety mechanisms created in 2018. Make sure you have a fresh air source to ventilate your garage. Bringing in fresh air will ensure the hydrogen level never reaches a dangerous level. Lastly, install a CO detector in your garage, as it will alert you when hydrogen gas reaches 300 ppm for 30 minutes.

Ventless Fireplaces

Ventless Fireplaces have gained in popularity due to their ease of installation and ability to provide heat and ambiance to a room. However, burning natural gas releases carbon monoxide, nitrous dioxide, and water vapor. When you cannot vent these gases, they flood into your living space. This is why ventless fireplaces can be installed only in larger rooms, as the hope is the gases will spread out over a larger area, thereby making them less dangerous. If you have a ventless fireplace, please make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector close to it and an automatic shutoff valve that measures the oxygen in the room. Finally, cracking a window will help introduce fresh air into the room.

Thanks!