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Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Questions and Answers

  1. What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?
  2. Where should the Carbon Monoxide alarm be placed in the home?
  3. Will one CO alarm be sufficient for an entire dwelling?
  4. What makes Carbon Monoxide so dangerous?
  5. What are some common sources of Carbon Monoxide in a residence?
  6. Why should you be concerned about Carbon Monoxide gas?
  7. What is the source of carbon monoxide?
  8. What should you do if your CO alarm sounds?

1. What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

Carbon Monoxide poisoning can strike quickly or build up over time. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu symptoms, headaches, nausea and fatigue. With increased exposure time or CO concentration, the symptoms become more severe, taking the form of drowsiness and confusion. Continued exposure can lead to brain damage and death.

 

2. Where should the Carbon Monoxide alarm be placed in the home?

The alarm should be placed adjacent to any sleeping areas. They may also be placed in areas of the residence where the occupants spend most of their time.

 

3. Will one CO alarm be sufficient for an entire dwelling?

A CO alarm is needed adjacent to any sleeping areas. If you have numerous sleeping areas you would require numerous CO alarms.

 

4. What makes Carbon Monoxide so dangerous?

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colourless, and tasteless gas which is very toxic. When Carbon Monoxide is inhaled, it produces an effect known as chemical asphyxiation. Injury is due to the combination of CO with available hemoglobin in the blood, lowering the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity. Even at very low parts per million levels, the body is quickly affected by oxygen starvation. Exposure during sleeping is particularly dangerous because the victim usually does not awaken.

 

5. What are some common sources of Carbon Monoxide in a residence?

The most common causes of CO accumulation in homes include:

  • blocked or poor ventilated fireplace chimney or furnace flue
  • faulty, damaged heating equipment (especially cracked furnace heat exchanges)
  • malfunctioning space heater
  • automobile or lawn mower exhaust in unvented garages

 

6. Why should you be concerned about Carbon Monoxide gas?

Carbon Monoxide or CO is a poisonous gas, which is especially dangerous due to its physical characteristics and effect on the body. It is often referred to as the "SILENT KILLER". There are many potential sources and combinations of conditions that may produce Carbon Monoxide. All are related to the process of incomplete combustion of a fossil fuel. In any enclosed space a small accumulation of CO can be dangerous.

7. What is the source of Carbon Monoxide?

CO is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline and wood. This problem can occur in any device, which depends on burning for heat or energy. For example, furnaces, boilers, room heaters, hot water heaters, stoves, grills and any gasoline engine (i.e. lawn mower) are enclosed on this list of devices.

 

8. What should you do if your CO alarm sounds?

If your CO alarm sounds, you and all members of your household should leave your home immediately. From outside the home, call 9-1-1. Don’t go back inside until the problem has been found and corrected. The Fire Services will inspect your home to find the source of the carbon monoxide.

 

Remember:  When purchasing a CO alarm, please carefully read the manufacturers instructions.