With the change of seasons and Fall right around the corner, Lac Ste. Anne County Fire Services would like to remind all residents that before you turn on the furnace, think about Carbon Monoxide (CO). That poisonous gas that has no colour, no smell, no taste that can cause you to become sick, unconscious, suffer brain damage or, in severe cases, even die.
As a homeowner, you can prevent CO from affecting your home and family by doing a couple of simple things:
1. Have the furnace inspected and cleaned regularly.
2. Install at least one Carbon Monoxide Alarm (detector) on every level of the home.
CO alarms provide the ONLY warning of the presence of the dangerous gas in your home that can come from the furnace or any household appliance that uses fossil fuels. If you are exposed to CO gas, you may feel flu-like symptoms like headache, nausea and dizziness, confusion, tiredness and shortness of breath that can eventually lead to loss of consciousness.
Like your smoke detectors, you need to test your CO alarms once a month. Also, when you annually change out the batteries of your smoke detectors, change out the batteries in your CO alarms too. CO alarms have a life span that is indicated on the packaging – make note of this by writing the expiry date on the alarm itself in permanent marker. If you don’t know the expiry date, you will be able to search your alarm on line for that information. Regardless of how the alarm is powered (hard-wired, battery or electric), or the type of alarm – these alarms MUST be replaced at the end of their lifespan.
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent CO build-up in your home:
- Arrange for annual cleaning and inspection by professionals for all fuel-burning appliances before you start to use them
- Ensure that the vents for the furnace, dryer, stove, fireplace, etc. are clear of debris and snow
- Gas and Charcoal barbeques must only be used outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents
- Open the flu for the fireplace before using
- NEVER use the stove or oven to heat the home
- NEVER run a vehicle or other motor inside an attached garage – even with the overhead doors open
- Ensure that portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly (according to the manufacturer’s instructions)
- Check the flame on fuel-burning appliance to make sure the flame is clear blue with occasional yellow tips
- Install CO alarms on every level of the home, close to sleeping areas, and pay close attention to the clearance requirements in the instructions.
Please DO NOT ignore any “beeping” from your CO alarm OR if the CO alarm goes off – if this happens you should leave your house immediately and call 9-1-1. Do not go back into the house until the Fire Department tells you it is safe to do so.
Lac Ste. Anne County Fire Services has already received several emergency calls regarding Carbon Monoxide alarms, so don’t delay in making sure that your family and home is protected!