Ontario warns of ‘silent killer’ with Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

A Digital carbon monoxide detector. Getty Images / File

TORONTO – The province is warning Ontarians about the danger of a “silent killer” as it kicks off its first carbon monoxide awareness week.

Creating an annual awareness week was part of Bill 77 passed by the province last year, which made carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes.

The public education campaign dubbed Beat the Silent Killer will be led by fire officials across the province, who will spread the message about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the importance of installing detectors in homes.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas produced when fuels like propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood have insufficient air to burn thoroughly.

Exposure to the gas can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness and can be fatal in high concentrations.

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The provincial government says more than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including about 11 on average in Ontario.

The Ontario Building Code requires the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in homes and other residential buildings built after 2001. Those whose homes were built earlier should put in their own alarms.

“I urge all Ontarians to install carbon monoxide alarms immediately – a simple, affordable action everyone can take to help protect their families and their homes,” said Yasir Naqvi, minister of community safety and correctional services.

John Gignac, co-chairman of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education, says people should never assume it’s a false alarm if a carbon monoxide detector goes off in their home.

“CO alarms are very reliable, high-tech devices and it is imperative that we treat every alarm seriously,” he said.

Carbon Monoxide around the house

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