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Be aware: Carbon monoxide is silent but deadly

January 4, 2017 -

Kingston Fire & Rescue urges you to have your chimney, furnace and gas-fired appliances checked by professional technicians every year to help guard against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is called "The Silent Killer" because the people it hurts cannot see it, smell it or taste it. Carbon monoxide (CO), an invisible gas that can poison, and even kill you, is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels. It can come from gas furnaces, hot water heaters, cars, fireplaces, wood stoves and kerosene heaters. Faulty burners or clogged chimneys are often part of the problem. 

Breathing in carbon monoxide can make you feel sick, as if you have the flu. You may experience headaches, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath and can die if you do not immediately leave the affected area.

Carbon monoxide alarms can protect you and your family from this deadly threat. Single-family homeowners and property owners/tenants in buildings that contain no more than six suites are legally obligated to have a carbon monoxide alarm as of April 15, 2015.

Install CO alarms where they can be easily heard, outside of each sleeping area and on every level of the home. When installing a CO alarm, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace alarms according to the manufacturer's instructions.

To reduce the chances of you or a loved one becoming overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning follow these tips:

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home and check it regularly to make sure the battery is working.
  • Never heat your home with a gas stove.
  • Make sure the fireplace, chimneys and flues are checked and cleaned every year.
  • Never use a barbecue, charcoal grill or hibachi in the home.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow.
  • Never use a gas powered generator in the home or basement.

If your CO alarm sounds, make sure to get out of your home immediately and call 911 from a safe place.

For more information on carbon monoxide, visit the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal at:

http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/FireMarshal/FireSafetyandPublicEducation/CarbonMonoxide/carbonmonoxide.html