Home safety involves taking care of fuel burning appliances such as stoves and furnaces, and installing, and maintaining, smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Often referred to as the silent killer, carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour, but can be incredibly dangerous and in some cases deadly. Carbon monoxide is created when burning fuels, such as natural gas, wood, oil, propane, and other similar substances.
"Every year, many Ontarians require medical attention due to carbon monoxide poisoning," said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief, Emergency Management. "The only way to detect CO in your home is with a CO alarm. Test your alarms monthly to ensure they are working."
When fuel burning appliances are properly installed, vented, and serviced, the carbon monoxide should not reach harmful levels where carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a risk.
Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Dull headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of Breath
- Blurred Vision
- Loss of Consciousness
Identifying Carbon Monoxide:
Since carbon monoxide is tasteless, colourless and odorless, it can be difficult to detect. Because of this, many provinces are now making it mandatory for homes to be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, if there is at least one fuel-burning appliance.
These detectors should sound an alarm when carbon monoxide is present, however, if you are feeling any of the above mentioned symptoms, and suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, you should seek assistance.
What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide is present? If you believe that carbon monoxide is present in your home or office and people are suffering from physical symptoms, get everyone out of the building immediately and contact 911. If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow in fresh air and turn off any appliance that could be emitting the gas.
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