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Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week - "Beat the Silent Killer"

Posted on Wednesday October 29, 2014

The first Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness week will take place from November 1 to November 8, 2014, and Pickering Fire Services aims to educate the public on the dangers of CO, where it comes from, and how to prevent build up of CO in the home.

“It is now the law in Ontario to have a CO alarm installed in all residential homes,” said Fire Chief, John Hagg. “All Pickering residents should commit to installing and regularly testing their carbon monoxide alarms.”

The City of Pickering will be posting CO safety messages on its Twitter and Facebook accounts throughout the week using the hashtag, #COSafety. Social media users are encouraged to follow its accounts and help spread the word.

What is CO?

  • CO is known as the silent killer because it is an invisible, tasteless and odourless gas that can be deadly.
  • 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, generators, and vehicles.

Prevent CO in your home:

  • Ensure all fuel-burning appliances in your home are inspected annually. Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you.
  • Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.
  • Never use a portable fuel-burning appliance inside (i.e. barbeques, portable heaters and generators).

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 911 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 911.

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 ontario.ca/firemarshal and COsafety.ca.


As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 94,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet. An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here. Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

Media Contact:
Julie Ineson
Fire Inspector l Pickering Fire Services Department
905.420.4660 ext. 8517
1.866.683.2760 | TTY 905.420.1739