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Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas. So why all the attention for something you can’t see, taste or smell? It’s lethal. Because it can’t be detected by our senses, carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous gas that has the ability to take lives. CO poisoning is definitely not an issue that should be taken lightly.

Rebecca Joseph of Global News reveals that, according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, more than 50 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada. The United States has a similar problem. “Unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings account for approximately 400 to 500 deaths (all ages) and more than 15,000 emergency department visits in the United States annually,” says HealthyChildren.org.

How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented?

The first step is the understanding of where carbon monoxide comes from. The poisonous gas is a by-product of appliances, heaters and automobiles that burn gasoline, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene or propane. So it’s vital that all of the above mentioned contraptions are both used and maintained intelligently.

Francis Lavoie is a biologist at the Water and Air Quality Bureau department at Health Canada. “Whenever you burn something whether it’s wood, natural gas, oil, paper or propane, there’s CO produced,” he explains in Joseph’s article.

If you have fuel-burning appliances in your home, it’s vital that they are kept in good working order and checked by a professional regularly. Such appliances include gas water heaters, gas stoves and gas clothes dryers. “Gas cooking stove tops and ovens should not be used for supplemental heat,” insists HealthyChildren.org.

Be wary of fireplace use.

With the summer currently in full swing, this shouldn’t be a problem. But come winter, many Canadians greatly enjoy firing up their fireplaces in order to keep their homes warm and toasty. In truth, this can be a very hazardous practice, especially if the ventilation in your home is poor.

“Check to ensure the flue is open during operation,” says HealthyChildren.org, “Proper use, inspection, and maintenance of vent-free fireplaces (and space heaters) are recommended.” It’s also very important to clean your chimney. If it is blocked, you stand the chance of trapping CO gas in your home every time you light up the fireplace.

Warm up the car only when it’s outdoors.

Naturally, automobiles are kept outside…most of the time. Have you ever warmed your car up while it was still in the garage? This is a common wintertime practice for many Canadians – and it’s a dangerous one. Not only is it recommended that you regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle’s exhaust system, you should never leave your car running in the garage or any other enclosed space. As HealthyChildren.org warns us, “CO can accumulate even when a garage door is open.”

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning is of major importance for all Canadians. Getting a CO detector should definitely be on your to-do list if you don’t have one already. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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