The Dryden Fire Service is reporting a successful Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, but staff are still urging residents to practice fire safety as the winter season draws near. Firefighters have responded to three CO alarm calls within the past week, with one home having elements of CO inside which needed to be ventilated.
“What we find a lot, is that a lot of people check their smoke alarms but what often gets forgotten, is the CO alarm,” said Dryden Fire Chief, Ryan Murrell. “It’s a great idea to have your fuel-burning appliance inspected at least once a year as well. It’s just a good idea to have the alarms.”
In Ontario, more than 65 per cent of injuries and deaths from carbon monoxide occur in the home. CO poisoning is also the #1 cause of preventable poisoning deaths in North America. Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
“Symptoms of CO poisoning are often confused with the flu which makes it so dangerous,” said Murrell. “If you have flu-like symptoms at home but feel better when you leave the house or are outside, you could have carbon monoxide poisoning.”
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 such as furnaces, gas or wood fireplaces, hot water heaters, stoves, barbecues, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators and vehicles.
CO alarms must be installed in your home if you have a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage. The alarm must be located adjacent to all sleeping areas to increase the likelihood that sleeping occupants will hear the alarm, if it goes off. The DFS is also advising residents to have a CO alarm on each level of their home, regardless of if they have any of the above in their home.
If you live in a condo or apartment building with a service room, CO alarms must be installed in the service room and adjacent to each sleeping area of all homes above, below and beside the service room. In condo or apartment buildings that have a garage. CO alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of all homes above, below and beside the garage.
Murrell stresses that those in rental properties are not responsible for installing or maintaining CO or smoke alarms, and residents should alert their landlords of a malfunctioning alarm immediately. He adds that it’s illegal to disable an alarm.
If you need assistance installing, testing or selecting smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, you are asked to contact the Dryden Fire Service.
“We never want anyone to feel bad about calling us. We’ll come over, we’ll check everything out for you with our high-end detector and make sure that everything’s functioning properly.”
Chief Murrell adds that if your alarm sounds, get outside immediately and call 911.
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