Plan ahead for carbon monoxide threats as the temperature drops

by | Jan 1, 2024 | Health and Wellness, Home and Living

A chill is in the air, but it’s never too late to review your winter safety checklist to protect your family from carbon monoxide, known as CO. It is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas that can come from any fuel-burning device. The risk of CO poisoning can spike in the winter since many of us use heating devices and other appliances more often in colder weather. Poisoning from high levels of CO can lead to serious illness or even death.

Here are important tips to help protect you and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Check your fuel-burning appliances. Furnaces, ovens and other fuel- and wood-burning appliances have the potential to leak dangerous levels of CO if not functioning correctly. To help ensure proper operations and safety, schedule annual maintenance check-ups with a qualified technician.

Install carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms are the only way to detect dangerous levels of CO in your home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing CO alarms on every level of the home, including the basement, and in or near every sleeping area. Remember to test alarms regularly and, if using battery-powered alarms, replace the batteries every six months.

For ease of installation and protection during unforeseen power outages, install a plug-in alarm with battery back up like those from First Alert. The device plugs in to any electrical socket and may be installed up high or low to the ground as CO disperses evenly throughout the air.

Know the symptoms. Symptoms of CO poisoning can include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and vomiting, and are often mistaken for the common cold or flu. Knowing the symptoms can help you avoid serious illness.

If symptoms appear or a CO alarm sounds, exit the home immediately to seek fresh air and call 911. Ensure all members of the household, including pets, have also left the home, and only re-enter after a professional deems it safe to return.

Learn more at firstalert.ca

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