British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

September 19, 2011 09:00 ET

BC Safety Authority: Carbon Monoxide Alarms are as Important as Smoke Alarms

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 19, 2011) - It's colourless, it's odourless, it's deadly poisonous and you'll only know it's in your home if you have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.

As fall approaches, the BC Safety Authority is advising the public to be aware of the hazards of toxic carbon monoxide (CO). According to BCSA gas safety manager, Eric Skehor, "everyone should install a carbon monoxide alarm; it's so easy and it could save your life. Also, as part of every home's safety maintenance routine, gas appliances should be inspected and serviced annually by a BCSA licensed contractor."

When purchasing a CO alarm, it is important to look at the approval label and check for the latest CSA Standard, 6.19-01. "Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding installation and maintenance," says Skehor.

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from regularly maintained appliances that are properly ventilated is extremely low. However, every homeowner should be aware that even a small amount of carbon monoxide can be dangerous.

"Have a BCSA licensed contractor check your gas appliances, vents, combustion air openings and heating system annually – ideally every autumn," says Skehor. "There is no doubt that carbon monoxide alarms and proper appliance maintenance can prevent serious accidents."

The symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can include: light headedness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, chest pains, vomiting, convulsions, confusion, and dizziness. Also watch for condensation on windows, plants dying, and/or having an entire family sick at the same time, as these can all be indicators there are toxic levels of CO in your home.

If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure, leave the building you're in immediately, call 911, and seek medical attention.

Some examples of gas appliances are: furnaces, stoves, hot water tanks, dryers, ranges, boilers, and fire places but carbon monoxide can be produced by all fuel-burning appliances so never bring gas grills, stoves or lamps into enclosed spaces like tents or RVs.

More information about carbon monoxide poisoning and gas appliance safety is available at:

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