British Columbia’s first ever Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from November 1 to 7 this year, and Golden Fire Rescue is reminding you to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) build up in your home by properly maintaining all fuel-burning appliances and installing CO alarms in your home.
“Carbon Monoxide is produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices,” explained deputy fire Chief Mike Pecora. “We want to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy. CO is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s an invisible, tasteless and odourless gas.”
Golden Fire Rescue would like to remind residents to install CO alarms in your home if you have a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage. Fuel-burning appliances can include furnaces, hot water heaters, gas or wood fireplaces, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators, barbeques, stoves and vehicles.
“You should install a working CO alarm on every storey of your home and next to each sleeping area,” said Pecora. “Make sure to test and clean your carbon monoxide alarms regularly and replace them according to manufacturer’s instructions.”
Important safety tips to consider:
Replace CO alarm batteries annually.
Test both your CO and smoke alarm monthly and know the difference between the two alarm sounds.
Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are properly maintained, as well as cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
Make sure that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.
Clear snow, ice, and debris from vents and chimneys.
Never use barbeques indoors.
Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
Make sure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
Open a chimney flue before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.
Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death. If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants are suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately and call 9-1-1 from outside your home (a neighbour’s house or a cell phone).
For more information about CO and safety tips, visit www.cosafety.tips.