Carbon Monoxide Alarm Awareness Week November 1-7


What is carbon monoxide (CO)? Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. Produced when any fossil fuel such as wood, propane, natural gas and heating oil during combustion to name a few, carbon monoxide is also known as “the silent killer”.

“Fossil fuel appliances that are not functioning properly can quickly build up dangerous and even deadly toxic levels of carbon monoxide,” said Fire Prevention Officer Kevin McKelvey. “Being aware of the symptoms can also potentially lead to a successful outcome of someone affected by the abundance of carbon monoxide leaking into the home,” he added. Flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness are often experienced as the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning takes over the body.

By ensuring a competent, qualified technician conducts an annual inspection of your fuel fired appliances can potentially save you and your family. “Early detection and repairs to a faulty piece of equipment can most definitely save lives,” says McKelvey, while also emphasizing the need to have working carbon monoxide alarms.

Even though carbon monoxide alarms have been required in Ontario homes and residential buildings since 2001, approximately 60% of Canadians do not have working carbon monoxide alarms in their homes.

Each year, over 50 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada while many others are left severely affected by CO poisoning.

If you haven’t already installed carbon monoxide alarms, locate them adjacent to sleeping areas and at least 15 inches from fuel fired appliances. These alarms require some minimal maintenance. Test them once a month to ensure the audible device (horn) is working. As dust often migrates to ceilings and walls, be sure to vacuum them once a month as well.

How old are the alarms? Check the back of the device for a manufacturers’ sticker indicating the manufacture date. If the alarm is 7-10 years old, it should be replaced.

Nobody should be without working smoke or carbon monoxide alarms. If you find yourself unable to purchase a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm and are a resident of Gravenhurst, please contact the Gravenhurst Fire Department.


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