Safety

Tip of the week: Monitor your air handling systems for outside fumes

Hospital Safety Insider, June 25, 2008

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After the recent floods in Cedar Rapids, IA, Mercy Medical Center relayed a cautionary tale about generators brought in to power equipment.
 
On June 17, 16 employees of the hospital’s information technology department were evaluated for carbon monoxide exposure after one of the workers showed symptoms of the illness.
 
It turns out carbon monoxide fumes came from an area outside the building where generators were providing power to large dehumidifiers. The hospital’s air intake system sucked the fumes into the building and eventually blew them into the IT department, according to Mercy Medical.
 
In response, the facility shut off the air intake duct for the department and moved the generators farther from the building.
 
Mercy Medical evacuated 176 patients on June 13 because of rising flood waters. The hospital hopes to fully reopen by the end of the month.



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