Tasteless, odourless and invisible: Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal without working alarms

person changing battery in smoke detector

Every November, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) raises awareness about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and importance of having a working alarm. To help educate the public, MFES is going beyond the dedicated Carbon Monoxide Week in early November and talking to the public about the dangers of CO poisoning for the remainder of the month.

Known as the “silent killer,” CO is a harmful gas you cannot see, taste or smell. It’s harmful to humans and pets, and exposure can lead to CO poisoning, which is sometimes fatal.  CO is created from the incomplete burning of fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane and wood. The main source of CO in your home is a fuel-burning appliance/heater, a fireplace or an attached garage.

Many Ontario homes have on average 4 to 6 fuel-burning appliances that produce carbon monoxide.

Do residents in Mississauga need a CO alarm?

Yes, CO alarms are required by law, in homes with a fuel-burning appliance/heater, a fireplace or an attached garage. The CO alarm must be located outside all sleeping areas.

For carbon monoxide alarms, be sure to:

  • Install them outside of all sleeping areas
  • Test them monthly
  • Replace them every 10 years
  • For extra protection, install them alarms on every level of your home

Ensure all fuel-burning appliances and vents in your home are inspected annually. Find a registered contractor at cosafety.ca

Additional information

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are described as “flu-like” symptoms, such as:

  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • upset stomach/vomiting
  • weakness

What to do if you suspect you have been exposed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning or if your CO alarm is triggered?

  • Find fresh air immediately
  • Call 911

This month, take action and be proactive about your family’s health and well-being. Watch our Youtube video to learn more and pay attention to the tips offered by MFES’s Public Education team. CO poisoning is preventable and not paying attention to alarms can cost you your life or someone else’s.

SOURCE: City of Mississauga

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