November 1, 2021
Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from Nov. 1 to 7, and Kingston Fire & Rescue (KFR) reminds you to keep your family safe by testing your carbon monoxide alarms and having all fuel-burning appliances inspected.
“In Ontario, more than 65 per cent of injuries and deaths from carbon monoxide occur in the home,” said Fire Inspector Del Blakney. “We want to make sure everyone is safe from CO,” he added. Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer because it is an invisible, tasteless, and odourless gas that can be deadly.
CO is produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices. “These devices include furnaces, gas or wood fireplaces, hot water heaters, stoves, barbeques, portable fuel-burning heaters or generators, and vehicles,” explained Blakney.
All fuel-burning appliances should be inspected on an annual basis by a registered contractor.” Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you.
“You must have a working CO alarm adjacent to each sleeping area of the home,” said Blakney. “For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home according to manufacturer’s instructions.” For apartment buildings or condos, CO alarms must be placed in all units above, below, or adjacent to both the service rooms and garages.
Know the symptoms of CO
- Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
- If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 from outside the building.
- If your CO alarm sounds, and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its "end-of-life" before calling 9-1-1.
Prevent CO in your home
- Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys, and vents are cleaned and inspected annually. Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you.
- Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.
- Gas and charcoal barbeques should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Never use barbeques inside garages, even if the garage doors are open.
- Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
- Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
- Open the flue before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
- Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.
Know the sound of your CO alarm
- Your CO alarm sounds different than your smoke alarm. Test both alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.
- Don’t be confused by the sound of your CO alarm’s low-battery warning. Follow your CO alarm manufacturer’s instructions so you know the difference between the low-battery warning, the “end-of-life” warning, and the alarm alerting you to the presence of CO in your home.
For more CO safety tips, visit the COsafety.ca.