Essex Fire & Rescue recognized Carbon Monoxide Week

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

by Sylene Argent

The week of November 1-7 is recognized as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week to help fire departments across the province to remind residents to protect themselves against this scentless, tasteless, yet potentially deadly killer.

The Awareness Week is held to correspond with Daylight Saving time, which is often the bi-annual marker residents use to remind themselves to check smoke alarm expiration dates, functionality, and change batteries.

It is also a time, Jason Pillon, Assistant Deputy Chief with Essex Fire & Rescue, said residents should be checking their carbon monoxide detectors for the same purposes as well. Though, he added, the units should  be checked on a monthly basis.

Carbon Monoxide alarms, according to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correction Service’s website, are required to be installed, “If the house contains a fuel burning appliance, fireplace or an attached garage, a CO alarm is required to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area in the house. For optimum protection, it is recommended that additional CO alarm(s) be installed in other levels and/or areas of the home that are in proximity to a CO source, subject to the distance limits provided in the product’s instruction manual.”

Pillon urged residents to know the different chirps that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can emit. Not only do smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors sound different types of chirps to alarm families of detection of either substance, they also emit different chirps to alert the of end of their life or the need for new batteries.

Pillon urges residents who have a carbon monoxide detector emitting the chirp that signals that substance is detected, and symptoms or carbon monoxide poisoning are noticed, to get outside and call for assistance.

What people do not often realize, Pillon said, is that fuel-burning appliance, such as wood stoves or furnaces, can emit carbon monoxide. If use of a generator is needed, he said, use it outdoors and away from windows.

He noted that overcharging batteries can emit carbon monoxide. Because of this, members of Essex Fire & Rescue recommend fuel-burning appliances be inspected annually.

During winter months when there is snow, ensure vents and ventilation systems are clear so carbon monoxide can escape the home.

A misconception, Deputy Fire Chief Rick Malott added, is that carbon monoxide stays low to the ground. It has a similar density to air so it can be present at any height.

In addition to looking after carbon monoxide detectors, Essex Fire & Rescue urges residents to know the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as flu-like symptoms or loss of consciousness.

“We are here to help people,” Pillon said. “Anyone with questions can contact us.”

Malott noted that as of last week, around 10 percent of Essex Fire & Rescue’s call volume for 2017 was for carbon monoxide activities or problems. Approximately 3 percent were calls where carbon monoxide had been detected. That is why it is important to know the different chirps.

Pillon recommends residents purchase units that have 10-year lithium ion batteries.