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CO = The Silent Killer

Known as the Silent Killer, Carbon Monoxide has no smell, no taste and no colour – but its effect can be deadly! It has become the leading cause of accidental death in North America. It is now the law! As of October 15, 2014, the new regulations took effect. Carbon monoxide alarm will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall.

On a go forward, the first week of November will be Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in Ontario. Check your mail box, listen to the radio, watch TV. – this campaign is everywhere.

Common sources of CO:


Gas water heater

Gas fireplace

Wood stove

Gas fueled appliances

Gas barbeque

Portable generators

How is CO produced?

Carbon monoxide is naturally produced when fuels such as gas, oil, propane, wood or coal are burned. CO is highly poisonous and must be ventilated properly otherwise it can build up and becomes dangerous.

Symptoms and Effects

At low levels, you might have a headache, feel tired or have shortness of breath.

Higher levels of exposure can make you feel dizzy, impair your thinking and motor functions and may cause chest pain. Extended exposure at this level can cause permanent brain damage.

In worst case, at very high levels, you can experience convulsions, coma and death within minutes.

What you should do to protect yourself and your family

Have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home, ideally outside every sleeping area.

Regularly check that these detectors are working properly.

All fuel-burning appliances need to have regular annual maintenance and cleaning.

Make certain all of these appliances are well ventilated. Ensure that leaves or snow have not blocked the ventilation.

As a good rule of thumb, if it has a flame, it can produce carbon monoxide. Also – if it is designed to be outside (i.e. barbeques, outdoor heaters, generators) it has to stay outside, no exceptions.

What to do if the alarm sounds?

If your detector goes off, get yourself and anyone else out of the house immediately. Call 911.

These detectors save lives. It is a small investment to protect your family.

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