Have you ever noticed that every week is a special week? It’s usually an awareness week, awareness for the safety and health of you, the community or a week to commemorate or honor a specific group of people or historical event.
November 1st -7th was Carbon Monoxide Awareness week. The TSSA had a wonderful campaign to help educate the public about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and how to prevent it.
Carbon Monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that you can’t see, touch or even smell. It’s a by-product of combustion, present whenever fuel is burned and doesn’t get enough air to burn up completely due to malfunctioning or poorly maintained fuel burning equipment, poor venting or limited air flow.
The following appliances produce carbon monoxide:
- Gas water heater
- Gas fireplace
- Gas Stove
- Gas dryer
- Gas barbecue
- Portable generators
- Fuel burning space heaters
- Blocked chimney
Carbon Monoxide is deadly. The common symptoms of the poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. One can pass out from breathing in a significant amount of CO or death can occur during sleeping. Watch this video of one man’s loss due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
What can you do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home?
- Get an annual inspection of all of your fuel fired appliances in your home, cottage or boat cabin.
- Installing and regularly testing carbon monoxide alarms.
- Test the alarm once a month
- Change batteries every fall or spring when you change your clock as a good reminder
- Back up batteries for plug-in alarms.
Installing a CO alarm is part of the whole package of protecting you and your family from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The TSSA recommends when choosing a CO alarm you should look for the CSA Blue Flame mark and the reference “CSA 6.19-01”, evidence of the most up to date Canadian Standard. And like your smoke alarms, it should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The TSSA recommends that CO Alarms should be installed on every level of your home or other properties you may own, in your RV, boat cabin, boathouse and installed near the sleeping areas.
They should not be installed near windows or vents, bathrooms, heating or fuel burning appliances and smoke alarms unless it’s a combination alarm.
It is law in Ontario for homes that have at least one fuel-burning appliance, like a gas furnace or gas water heater, or an attached garage, to have CO detectors installed.
Education, prevention, and implementation are key to avoid the tragedy of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.