Published on November 10, 2021

Keep Your Family Safe – Check Your Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The Invisible Killer

In Canada, more than 50 people die and hundreds are hospitalized each year from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Often called the invisible killer, CO is an odourless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. 

“In the home, malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters can be sources of CO," says Michael Bos, Fire Prevention Officer with City of St. Albert Fire Services. "Vehicles running in an attached garage or generators, or any other equipment that has an engine, running inside a home or in an attached garage, or outside a home near open doors, windows or air intake vents can also produce dangerous levels of CO.” 

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips:

  • Ensure proper installation, operation, and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances in the home as per manufacturers’ instructions and national codes. 
  • Residents should have their heating system inspected by a qualified professional and serviced every year.
  • Be sure your carbon monoxide alarm has been certified to the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) CAN/CGA 6.19 standard or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2034 standard.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in or near the sleeping area(s) of the home in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Portable generators must be operated outside only. Keep generators at least 6 metres away from the house. 
  • Never use portable fireplaces or barbeque grills inside homes or in semi-enclosed areas.  

Do you have a working CO alarm in your house?

Since we cannot see, smell, or taste CO, we need to rely on another early warning system – CO alarms. You should have an alarm located outside sleeping areas and on each level of your home. Follow the instructions on the CO alarm package to ensure they are properly installed and maintained. Test your alarms each month to ensure that they are still working. 

It is important to know the different sounds that a CO alarm makes. The alarm will sound if CO is detected. If the battery is low, the alarm will chirp. Replace the battery as soon as possible. If the alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors and call the fire department. 

Stay safe this winter!

During the colder months, CO incidents are more common. Let’s work together to prevent CO incidents in our community! 

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Last edited: November 26, 2021