Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide

As the weather gets colder, Calgarians are turning on more appliances that can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in homes.

To help everyone stay safe this winter, the Calgary Fire Department is joining Alberta’s Office the Fire Commissioner and ATCO Gas to promote Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week , Nov. 2 to 8, 2014 and share important safety tips.

Simple steps can be taken to help keep your family safe from CO gas, such as:
  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected by professionals every year before cold weather sets in.
  • Ensure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and other fuel-burning applicances are always clear of snow and other debris.
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • If you, or anyone in the house, experience symptoms of CO poisoning or your CO alarm goes off, leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1.

“CO gas can be very dangerous. It is colourless, odourless and deadly,” said Calgary Fire Department Public Information Officer Carol Henke.

The symptoms of CO gas poisoning are similar to the flu, including headaches, nausea and dizziness as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and, in cases of prolonged exposure, death.

In 2013, the Calgary Fire Department received more than 1,800 calls related to carbon monoxide. During the cold months, including November, December and January, the highest number of CO calls were received, making up 33 per cent of the annual total.

More information on CO safety.

Submitted by Bridget Cox, Calgary Fire Department

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