Many Canadians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in their own homes, most of them while sleeping.
Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled. Everyone is at Risk – 88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odourless, colourless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of CO. Follow the tips below to ensure you have warning if CO is present in your home:
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
- Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Test CO alarms and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
- If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call 911 for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel say it is safe to return.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fuelled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
- A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
Remember the six main symptoms to look out for:
Being aware of the symptoms could save your life
Carbon monoxide symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.
Other signs that could point to carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Your symptoms only occur when you are at home
- Your symptoms disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return
- Others in your household are experiencing symptoms (including your pets) and they appear at a similar time