What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It’s produced by the incomplete burning of fuels like natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal or wood due to inadequate air.
Improperly installed or poorly maintained appliances that run on these fuels can create unsafe levels of CO. In enclosed spaces like your home, cottage or vehicle, even a small amount of CO is dangerous.
What are the Symptoms of CO Poisoning?
Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness. In severe cases, it can cause brain damage and death.
Older persons, children, people with heart or respiratory conditions and pets may be more sensitive to it, and feel the effects earlier than others.
Why is Carbon Monoxide So Deadly?
Because you cannot see, smell or taste it, poisoning can happen to anyone, any time, anywhere. That is why carbon monoxide is often referred to as the “Silent Killer.”
How Can You Protect Yourself in the Home?
- Regular maintenance and cleaning of all fuel burning appliances by a qualified technician at least once a year.
- Regular inspections and cleaning by a qualified technician of all vent pipes and chimney flues at least once a year.
- Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home, preferably on the same level as bedrooms.
Are You Required to Have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?
The Ontario Fire Code Section 2.16 requires the owner of a dwelling unit shall conform to the standards for carbon monoxide alarms set out by the Ontario Fire Code.
A minimum of one carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed by the owner in each of the following dwelling units, in accordance with the provisions of the Ontario Fire Code and the manufacturer’s instructions:
- Each dwelling unit containing a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or a storage garage;
- For a building containing multiple dwelling units, in the service room and adjacent to the sleeping area in each dwelling unit that has a common wall or common floor/ceiling assembly with the service room.
- For a building containing a storage garage, adjacent to the sleeping area in each dwelling unit that has a common wall or common floor/ceiling assembly with the storage garage.
Maintenance and Repair of Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- The owner and occupant of a dwelling unit shall ensure that each carbon monoxide alarm installed in the dwelling unit is maintained in good operating condition and tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- The owner shall supply a copy of the carbon monoxide alarm manufacturer’s maintenance instructions to the occupant(s) of a dwelling unit.
Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code could result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.
What Should you do if your Carbon Monoxide Alarm Starts Beeping?
Follow this guideline…
Are people in the home showing signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
- Leave the house immediately and go to a fresh air source
- Phone Grand Valley Fire at 9-1-1
- Do NOT re-enter the home until advised to do so by officials
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the home
- Close all windows and doors
- Reset the detector and if it sounds again, call the fire department
- If the alarm does not sound a second time, check the common sources that may cause a carbon monoxide build-up
- Call a qualified technician to inspect and repair the problem