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Kingston Fire & Rescue highlights CO safety with passing of new CO detector law

December 13, 2013 -

Kingston Fire & Rescue is promoting awareness of carbon monoxide safety – and of a new provincial law that makes it mandatory to have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector beside all sleeping areas in any building that uses a fuel-burning appliance.

"Making it mandatory to have CO detectors installed next to sleeping areas will save lives, no doubt about it," says Fire Chief Rheaume Chaput.

Yesterday, the Ontario legislature passed the Hawkins Gignac Act and amended the Fire Protection & Prevention Act requiring the installation of a carbon monoxide detector adjacent to all sleeping areas in any new or existing residence served by ANY kind of fuel-burning appliance, including gas furnaces, gas water heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, generators, and kerosene heaters.

Chaput says that carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and toxic gas. When inhaled it inhibits the blood's capacity to transport oxygen through the body. It can poison the body quickly in high concentrations, or slowly over long periods of time. Automobiles and fuel burning appliances produce CO in varying concentrations when there is incomplete combustion. When properly installed, maintained and vented, any CO produced by these appliances will be vented outside the home.

Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness. Unsafe levels of CO can be detected by carbon monoxide detectors, which are constructed to detect airborne concentration levels of CO in parts per million (ppm) and sound an audible alarm when harmful levels are present.

Kingston Fire & Rescue responds annually to hundreds of calls for assistance relating to the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

For the best protection, it is important to have fuel burning appliances regularly serviced. This change to the Ontario Fire Code will assist in making our homes safer from the potential of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  Never start an automobile or generator in a garage without first opening the overhead door for proper ventilation.  When the CO detectors activate, immediately use your home escape plan and contact the fire department from outside the home.  For further information visit the City of Kingston website at www.cityofkingston.ca.

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For further information contact:

Paul Patry
Assistant Chief, 
Director of Fire Prevention