British Columbia’s first-ever Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from November 1 to 7 this year, and the Shuswap Fire Departments are reminding you to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) build up in your home by properly maintaining all fuel-burning appliances and installing CO alarms in your home.
What are the sources of CO
Common sources include gas-fired furnaces, boilers, hot water tanks, stoves, dryers, and fireplaces. These items — along with the venting systems and fresh air supply into your home — should be checked at least once a year.
How to prevent CO exposure
Schedule an annual appliance inspection Contact a licensed gas contractor to take a look at your gas appliances (your stove, furnace, fireplace, etc) and venting systems to confirm they’re in good working order. Visit www.technicalsafetybc.ca to find a licensed contractor near you.
Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.
Never use barbecues inside garages, even if the garage doors are open. Only use them outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings.
Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
Open a chimney flue 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. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.
Install a Canadian-certified CO alarm
Look for a certification mark from a certification body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.
Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions that in most cases say to put it in the hallway outside your bedrooms and on each level of your home.
If your alarm isn’t hardwired, check your batteries twice a year. And if it’s more than seven years old (check the end of like date), get a new one. Units with sealed lithium batteries require no battery replacement or maintenance.
Know the sound of your CO alarm
Your CO alarm sounds different than your smoke alarm. Test BOTH alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.
Don’t be confused by the sound of your CO alarm’s low-battery warning. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions so you know the difference between the low-battery warning, the “end-of-life” warning, and the alarm alerting you to the presence of CO in your home.
- CO Safety: COsafety.tips
- British Columbia Fire Chiefs’ Association: FCABC.ca
- Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of BC: FPOABC.bc.ca
- Fortis BC: fortisbc.com
- Office of the Fire Commissioner: gov.bc.ca/FireSafety
- Pacific Northern Gas: PNG.ca
- Technical Safety BC: technicalsafetybc.ca