It's odourless, tasteless, and deadly. Carbon monoxide kills 200 Canadians a year and hospitalizes another 1500. Often referred to as the "silent killer," carbon monoxide is created in the incomplete combustion of natural gas, wood, propane and charcoal. Be sure you understand how to protect your family from this silent threat.
- Invest in a detector. Have carbon monoxide detectors installed near sleeping areas as per the manufacturer instructions. This is essential for every home.
- Have regular inspections. Be sure to have your furnace and fireplace checked regularly and serviced by a professional. Poor ventilation can cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home.
- Keep the BBQ outdoors. If it's cold or raining outside, it may seem like a good idea to set up the BBQ in the garage. Unfortunately, in an enclosed space the fumes can begin to cause serious physical damage. Even worse, fumes can seep into your home, threatening your family's health.
- Don't start the car indoors. In the winter, you may be tempted to start the car in the garage before leaving. You must avoid doing so, as carbon monoxide fumes can seep into your home.
At low concentrations, those exposed to carbon monoxide will feel short of breath and begin to have a headache. In higher concentrations, victims' headaches will become worse, and their vision and hearing will become impaired. With too much exposure, victims will become unconscious and eventually die. If someone in your family begins to exert these symptoms, be sure to move them to fresh air and call for emergency assistance.
If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, open up the windows and call the fire department. Turn off the fireplace, it it's on, and move your family outdoors.
With these safety tips in mind, you can rest assured that your family will be safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.