Carbon Monoxide (CO) – tasteless, odourless, colourless and a deadly gas that can kill silently in just minutes. This week is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and a great opportunity to educate yourself and your family about the dangers of CO and what you can do to keep your loved ones safe.
How is CO produced?
CO is produced when fuels like propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, fireplaces, hot water heaters, barbecues, portable heaters and generators or vehicles.
Tips to keep your family safe:
- Install CO detectors on every level of your home and test them monthly to ensure they are working correctly.
- Replace the batteries every year and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Learn the difference between the CO detector’s low-battery warning, end-of-life warning and emergency alarm.
- Ensure you and your family know the difference between your CO detector’s alarm and your smoke alarm.
Preventing CO in your home:
- Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected annually by professionals.
- Make sure your vents for your dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and all other fuel-burning appliances are kept clear of snow and other debris that may stop the vent from functioning correctly.
- Gas and charcoal barbecues should be used away from doors, windows, vents and other building openings.
- Do not use barbecues or generators indoors, even with a door open.
- Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
- Prior to using a fireplace, always open the flu to allow adequate ventilation.
- Never idle a vehicle or other fueled engine inside a garage, even with the doors open.
If you suspect you or your family have been exposed to CO, get everyone out of the building immediately. CO poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
Once outside of the building, call 9-1-1.
If your CO detector alarms and no one is suffering from the symptoms noted above, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or if the alarm has reached its “end-of-life” before calling 9-1-1.
For more information about CO, visit: http://www.ofc.alberta.ca/ofc-carbon-monoxide-awareness-week