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Most people have heard of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and know that it's dangerous. But it's often a mystery of where it comes from, how it's produced, its physical symptoms, and what precautions can be taken to ensure it doesn't endanger you. Or worse, kill you.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas, often referred to as ‘the Silent Killer’ because you can't see it, touch it or smell it. This odourless gas is produced as a by-product of combustion when common fuel-burning appliances and equipment that use natural gas, oil, wood, propane and kerosene, don’t get enough air to burn up completely. When this happens, carbon monoxide can build up, especially in a confined room or space – and this can lead to toxic effects on humans and pets.
Protect yourself and your family from the “Silent Killer.” As per the the Hawkins-Gignac Act, the Ontario Fire Code has officially (October 2014) been amended to protect every Ontarian from carbon monoxide. The updates to the fire code put a number of key measures into effect, including making carbon monoxide alarms a requirement for every household in Ontario with a risk of carbon monoxide. Related video: Carbon Monoxide PSA.
Here is what Ontarians need to know:
Carbon monoxide (also called CO) is a poisonous gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. It is often referred to as the 'silent killer'. CO is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal or wood.
Improperly installed or poorly maintained appliances that run on these fuels can create unsafe levels of CO. Even a small amount of CO is dangerous in enclosed spaces such as your home, cottage or recreational vehicle.
Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness. In very severe cases, CO poisoning can cause brain damage and death. The elderly, children, people with heart or respiratory conditions, and pets may be particularly sensitive to CO and may feel the effects sooner.
The Barrie Fire and Emergency Service recommends annual inspection and maintenance of all fuel-burning appliances, venting systems and chimneys by a qualified service technician. Regularly maintained appliances that are properly ventilated should not produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide.
If you are adding a new fuel-burning appliance or making changes to your home's ventilation system, please consult a qualified heating contractor to ensure that your home is safe from CO hazards.
If you or anyone else in your home is experiencing the symptoms of CO poisoning or your CO alarm sounds, make sure that everyone leaves the home immediately and gets medical help. Call 911 or your local fire department.
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