You can prevent and detect carbon monoxide by taking a few simple steps at home.
Prevention through education
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is pleased to be working with our partners at the Fire Commissioner’s Office and ATCO Gas to raise awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. At Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, we believe that education is the very best form of prevention. Through Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week we hope to reduce the number of these dangerous events by educating and informing the public about carbon monoxide leak prevention and detection.
In 2013, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded to 377 carbon monoxide events. 361 of these events took place in single family homes, apartments or condo complexes, where the risk to public health and safety is highest. We are trending to be on par with that number in 2014, with 282 carbon monoxide calls to the department thus far. During the winter, when homes are more tightly sealed to conserve heat and fuel-burning appliances are used more often, we see an increase in the number of carbon monoxide-related events in our city.
Carbon monoxide can ignite or even explode when it builds up in an enclosed, unventilated area and comes in contact with a spark or flames, making a carbon monoxide leak not only a health concern, but also a fire hazard.
What you can do to protect your home
Your first line of defense in preventing a carbon monoxide leak and CO poisoning is the proper installation, use and maintenance of your fuel burning appliances. Installation, repair or adjustment of fuel-burning appliances is a job for a qualified technician; you should not attempt to do this work on your own.
The installation of a CO detector is your second line of defense against CO poisoning, and should be used in conjunction with good preventative measures. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services recommends that you install at least one CO alarm on every level of your home.
Carbon monoxide alarms do not last forever and should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Battery-operated alarms should have their batteries replaced once a year and all CO alarms should be tested monthly to ensure they are working properly. Regular vacuuming and dusting of your alarm can also help keep it in good working condition
If an event should happen
In the event that your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, evacuate your home and call 911. If you or someone you live with is experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, immediately evacuate your home and call 911. In both cases, do not re-enter your home until a qualified technician has corrected the problem.