News & Public Notices
Kingston Fire & Rescue Stresses Carbon Monoxide Awareness
January 22, 2014 -
Kingston Fire & Rescue stresses the importance for citizens to recognize the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and to take necessary precautions regarding carbon monoxide prevention.
Several recent emergency responses by Kingston Fire & Rescue could have had disastrous results. The recent power outages have resulted in the use of fuel burning space heaters, and the snow and ice build-up has obstructed exhaust vents for fuel burning appliances.
Nobody is confirmed to have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, however some people reported that they were suffering from symptoms similar to CO poisoning and as a precaution, emergency services were contacted.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, and tasteless poisonous gas. CO alarms are the only way to determine if carbon monoxide is present — other than physical symptoms similar to the flu — nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion, and drowsiness — except there is no fever. If your carbon monoxide alarm activates or symptoms appear, it is imperative for everyone, including pets, to immediately go outside for fresh air and call 9-1-1.
CO is produced when fuels such as natural gas, oil, wood, propane, and kerosene don't get enough air to burn up completely. The best defence is proper maintenance of fuel burning appliances, equipment and venting systems. Have your heating system examined annually by a qualified service technician to reduce the risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure all ventilation for appliances are free from obstructions – including ice and snow.
Since CO alarms do not detect fire or smoke and smoke alarms do not detect CO, your home needs both carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. It is essential that you install CO and smoke alarms on every level of your home in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 5 years. There are units available that combine the function of both CO and smoke alarms into one device.
Whether your alarms are battery operated or electric/hard-wired, test them monthly by pressing the test button. Batteries in alarms must be replaced twice per year: when you change your clocks – change your batteries.