Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a potentially fatal poisonous gas that is colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Over 80% of all CO deaths and injuries in Ontario occur at home. Exposure to CO can cause flu-like systems and is also potentially fatal if undetected. Only a working CO alarm will give you the warning of the presence of CO to keep your family safe. If your CO alarm sounds or you believe someone in your home is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately and call 911.

It is the law in Ontario for the homeowner to install CO alarms outside all sleeping areas if the home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage. Many homes in Ontario have on average 4-5 fuel-burning appliances that produce CO, such as a; fireplace, stove, gas dryer, water heater, or furnace. Letting your vehicle idle in your garage can also create dangerous levels of CO. To help avoid the production of dangerous levels of CO gas in your home, ensure all fuel-burning appliances and vents are inspected by a qualified contractor annually.

The homeowner is also required by law to maintain CO alarms in working condition. This means testing them regularly, providing fresh batteries, and replacing according to the manufacturers’ recommendations. Check your CO alarm for a replacement date if it is 5 years old or more. There are no alarms warrantied for more than 10 years and can be as little as 5 years.

For more information, contact Markham Fire and Emergency Services at 905-477-700- ext. 5530. or twitter @markhamfire, and keep an eye out for CO awareness events in your community during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2017, Nov. 5 to 11.