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Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas. It’s toxic to humans and animals and can be deadly. Even in smaller, less lethal doses, it can cause serious health problems.

What produces Carbon Monoxide?

  • Fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, propane heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves and many others can produce CO.
  • Gas powered machinery produces CO such as vehicles and tractors, as well as propane powered forklifts.

How to reduce the risk of CO poisoning?

  • Have fuel‐burning appliances inspected and cleaned yearly. Also have venting checked for cracks or blockages.
  • Never start a vehicle in a closed garage and once it is started make sure you pull it out into the driveway.
  • Never operate propane, natural gas or charcoal barbecue grills indoors or in an unventilated area.
  • Never run a lawnmower, snowblower or any gasoline‐powered tool inside a garage or house.
  • Clear snow away from exterior vents.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Persistent headaches.
  • Shortage of breath.
  • Dizziness, blurred vision.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Confusion.
  • Impairment of vision and hearing.
  • Fainting, unconsciousness.
  • Feeling sick and tired in same location, but fine away from location.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained are an important factor in preventing death or injury by fire.

  • It’s often found that home fire deaths are a result of no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms were installed in the home.
  • The spread of smoke is very quick and can be detected early with a well maintained alarm.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home including the basement, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.
  • Alarms should be installed on the ceiling or high on a wall, away from any windows, ventilation or ceiling fans.

There are two kinds of smoke alarms:

  • Ionization alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires and are usually installed in living and sleeping areas.
  • Photoelectric alarms are better at detecting smoldering fires and are best used near the kitchen.

Home Escape Plan

  • Plan ahead and make a home escape plan for your home and everyone knows where the outside meeting place is. This is very important for families with young children.
  •  Practice your escape plan a few times a year.

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