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Here’s How You Can Beat This Silent Killer



Here’s How You Can Beat This Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide – the silent killer. How can you beat it?

According to the city of Burlington, Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in Ontario runs Nov. 1 to Nov. 7.

The Burlington Fire Department is reminding residents to get their fuel-burning appliances looked at annually and to make sure they have working carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

All residences must have a working CO alarm near each sleeping area if the home has a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage. 

For added protection, residents can install a CO alarm on every storey of their home according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Condos and apartment buildings with a service room must have CO alarms in this room, and adjacent to each sleeping area of all units above, below and beside the service room. 

In condo or apartment buildings that have a garage, CO alarms have to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of all units above, below and beside the garage.

“In Ontario, more than 65 per cent of injuries and deaths from CO occur in the home. CO deaths are preventable,” Chief Fire Prevention Officer Joe Wintar said in a recent press release.

“In many cases, these deaths could be prevented with two simple steps: 1. Getting fuel-burning appliances inspected by a certified, registered contractor. Visit to find a registered contractor near you. 2. Having working CO alarms in your home to provide you with an early warning and time to escape.”

What is CO?

  • CO is referred to as the silent killer because it is an invisible, tasteless, and odourless gas that can be lethal.
  • CO is fashioned when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances.

How to prevent CO in from getting into your home:

  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected yearly.
  • Ensure that outside appliance vents are not blocked.
  • Gas and charcoal barbeques should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Never use barbeques inside garages, even if the garage doors are open.
  • Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
  • Do not use the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Open the vent before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
  • Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. 

The symptoms of CO:

  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and death.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, and any occupants show signs and symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Call 9-1-1 from outside. Leave windows and doors shut to assist responding crews with identifying the source.

The sound of your CO alarm:

  • CO alarms sound different than smoke alarms. Test both alarms monthly and ensure that everyone in the home knows the difference between the two sounds.
  • Don’t be confused by the sound of the CO alarm’s low-battery warning. Follow the CO alarm manufacturer’s instructions to know the difference between the low-battery warning, the “end-of-life” warning, and the alarm alerting to the presence of CO in the home.

Although these tips and tricks were issued by the Burlington Fire Department, all residents should take them into consideration. 

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