Ontario’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week wraps up with Daylight Savings


A working smoke/carbon monoxide alarm is one of the best investments to keep your family safe

November 1 to 7 is Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness Week in Ontario and Oshawa Fire Services is reminding residents to take the time to install new batteries in all smoke alarms and CO alarms when setting the clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 a.m.

It is required by law that all landlords and homeowners have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Additionally, CO alarms must be installed near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Removing or tampering with smoke and CO devices can result in fines of up to $50,000 for an individual and/or one-year imprisonment.

Smoke alarms need to be tested monthly and replaced if they are more than 10 years old. Additionally, ensure that all members of the household know what to do should a smoke alarm sound. Be sure that your family has an escape plan, complete with a meeting place, and practice it regularly.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm tips:

  • Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home. For added protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.
  • Install CO alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage. For added protection, install a CO alarm on every storey of your home according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • Test smoke and CO alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Change the batteries spring and fall.
  • Smoke and CO alarms wear out over time. Replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or if they are more than 10 years old.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

November 1, also marks the beginning of Ontario’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. Oshawa Fire Services is reminding residents to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) in your home by getting all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually. A highly poisonous gas, CO is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it cannot be seen, touched or smelled. If your home does not yet have a CO alarm, now is the time to purchase one.

Oshawa Fire Services also reminds residents that the Ontario Fire Code requires every house, condo, apartment, hotel and university or college residence with a fuel-burning device, and any building with an attached garage, to have a working CO alarm.

In condo or apartment buildings, that have a garage, CO alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of all homes above, below and beside the garage.

What is CO?

  • CO is produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices such as furnaces, gas or wood fireplaces, hot water heaters, stoves, barbeques, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators and vehicles.

Prevent CO in your home

  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected annually. Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you.
  • Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.
  • Gas and charcoal barbeques should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Never use barbeques inside garages, even if the garage doors are open.
  • 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 the flu 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.

Know the symptoms of CO

  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
  • If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number from outside the building.
  • If your CO alarm sounds and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its “end-of-life” before calling 9-1-1.

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 your CO alarm 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.

For more CO safety tips, visit the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management’s website and COsafety.ca.

Safely dispose of batteries

The community is reminded to safely dispose of the batteries by participating in the curbside battery collection from November 8 -12 on your regular blue box collection day. Orange labels with instructions on how to participate in the program are included in the annual waste management calendar or you can download and print the label for placement inside a sealable, transparent bag. Place the sealed bag on top of your blue box for collection. For more information on Durham Region’s battery collection program, visit www.durham.ca/battery.

About Oshawa Fire Services

The City of Oshawa is committed to the safety of its community members through significant financial investment in Oshawa Fire Services and the development of the Oshawa Fire Master Plan.

Six fire halls are strategically located throughout the city allowing Oshawa Fire Services to serve the entire community.

For more information about Oshawa Fire Services and fire prevention, visit www.oshawa.ca/fire or follow @OshawaFire on Twitter.

For updates on the City of Oshawa, visit www.oshawa.ca and sign up for news, alerts and e-newsletters. Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook,Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Connect Oshawa.

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