Carbon monoxide, commonly known as CO, is a colourless, odourless gas, and it can cause serious injury or even death. To help protect you and your family against this “silent killer,” here are some important safety tips to follow.
Know the CO basics. Carbon monoxide can be emitted by fuel-burning appliances, such as ovens, furnaces and boilers, and it is impossible to detect without a working CO alarm. Take extra caution during colder months as more use of home heating systems may heighten the risk of a CO leak.
Be aware of the warning signs. Symptoms of CO poisoning can include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and vomiting, mimicking those of the common cold or the flu. If you suddenly experience any of these symptoms, exit the building and call 911 immediately.
Know what to do in a power outage. If power goes out, portable generators must only be used outside, at least seven metres from the home. Never use them inside the home, in a garage or in any confined area that can allow CO to collect. Additionally, be careful to always follow operating instructions closely.
Install alarms. Fire and home safety experts from the National Fire Protection Association recommend installing CO alarms, like the First Alert Plug-In CO Alarm with battery back-up, on every floor of your home, including the basement. They should be in or near every sleeping area to ensure your whole home is protected. Remember to test your CO alarms regularly and, if using battery-powered alarms, replace the batteries at least every six months.
Have fuel-burning appliances inspected regularly. Arrange for an annual professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers and water heaters to help prevent a possible CO leak in your home.
Learn more CO safety tips and browse carbon monoxide alarms at firstalert.ca