Carbon Monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas that is produced when combustibles are not efficiently burned. Household appliances that burn fossil fuels such as stoves, a gas furnace, hot water heaters using natural gas, and natural gas and wood fireplaces have the potential to produce Carbon Monoxide, which can cause serious health issues up to and including fatalities. A running vehicle also produces large amounts of carbon monoxide, as well. So does a charging car battery left to charge overly long. (These are examples only, and in no way represent a comprehensive list of items that produce CO gas. If you suspect CO levels of your home to be elevated, call 911).

With the passage of the ‘Hawkins Gignac Act – An Act to Proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 to provide safety requirements related to the presence of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide on premises’ in November of 2013, Carbon Monoxide Alarms are now mandatory in Ontario.  They are a required by law life saving device for every home and business that has the potential to produce Carbon Monoxide, and are relatively inexpensive units to purchase.  ALL CO Alarms for sale in Canada are required to meet the Underwriters Laboratory Standard and should have the corresponding logo (ULC)

Ontario Law
In the Ontario Building Code, Carbon Monoxide Alarms are required in all new construction after 1997.  As of April 15, 2015, it is law that you install a CO alarm adjacent to every sleeping area.

The recent passage of the Hawkins Gignac Act, the legislative wording of which is available by accessing the E-lawswebsite, establishes that Carbon Monoxide Alarms are now mandatory in all homes in Ontario.

Where to install CO Detectors
Instructions for the best installation location of your Carbon Monoxide Alarm are determined by the manufacturer, and should be included in the pamphlet that came with your Alarm. In general, the requirement is to install them adjacent to sleeping areas so that if the alarm activates, it will be heard by all occupants of your home.  Sarnia Fire Rescue Services suggests that one be installed on every level for added protection.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide and what you can do to protect your family from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, visit the link below.

Carbon Monoxide FAQs
How do I know if there is an issue with CO in my home?
Without a Carbon Monoxide alarm, there is virtually no way of knowing whether your home has elevated levels of CO until you start to feel the symptoms of CO poisoning.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
Some symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headaches…if you suspect that CO may be the cause, you should have your home tested by our fire Service professionals who possess the equipment available to detect harmful gases such as Carbon Monoxide.

What should I do if I suspect that there is CO in my home?
First, everyone should remove themselves from the premises. 911 should be called and the Fire Department dispatched to ascertain CO levels in the home with their own detection equipment.

My Alarm is beeping intermittently, but I don’t know where the original manufacturers information is for my model of alarm.
Some models contain a backup battery that keeps the Alarm operational for a period of time in the event of power loss. When this battery is low, these units emit an intermittent alarm. In other units by different manufacturers, this may indicate that the detector is faulty. Consult your CO Alarm manufacturers literature on your model of alarm to determine what the error codes indicate.   If you are in doubt, call 911 and the Fire Department will come and check your home with our own detection equipment.

How long are Carbon Monoxide detectors good for, and when should they be changed?
Generally they last about 7-10 years. It is a requirement to change them at least every 10 years. Ensure you check the manufacturers recommendations in regard to the Alarms life cycle.

Related Links
Office of the Fire Marshall – Silent Killer