- Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous gas that can cause serious harm to you and your family. The safest way to protect yourself and the ones you love is to make sure you aren't exposed to high levels of CO. Following these simple tips will help you do just that.
The Ins and Outs of CO Safety:
- The best way to stay safe when it comes to carbon monoxide is to know the facts about it. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odourless and poisonous gas that can be produced by fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, fireplaces, gas stoves, propane heaters, and kerosene lanterns. If these appliances aren't being checked on a regular basis, or not taken care of or used properly, they can cause dangerous levels of CO to build up inside your home.
- So what can be done to make sure CO doesn't reach dangerous levels in your house? For starters, your parents should keep a close eye on your home's furnace and fireplace. If these kinds of fuel-burning appliances are inspected every year, it decreases your chances of being exposed to high CO levels.
- Another thing your parents can do is install good quality CO alarms in your home. These alarms will warn you if the level of CO is rising inside your house, and this gives you and your family time to escape. Without CO alarms, the only way to know if there are dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the air is if you start feeling the symptoms of CO poisoning.
- It is extremely important to get to know the symptoms of CO poisoning, so you can act quickly if you begin feeling them. The symptoms are similar to the flu, including an upset stomach, a headache, burning eyes, confusion, and sleepiness. If you and your family start to feel these symptoms, you must get everyone - including your pets - outside into fresh air immediately. Then call 911 or your local fire department.
CO alarms and smoke alarms:
Every home needs two types of alarms: a carbon monoxide alarm to detect high levels of CO and a smoke alarm to warn of fire or smoke. Here are some smart tips to share with your folks:
- Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home or cottage and outside all sleeping areas.
- Install at least one CO alarm at knee level or higher near bedrooms.
- Use more than one CO alarm if there are bedrooms on different levels of your home.
- Always follow the manufacturer's directions for installing and maintaining both smoke and CO alarms.
Plus, check out these tips to make sure your alarms are always in good working order:
- Have your parents test every alarm once a month by pushing the test button on the unit.
- Alarm batteries should be changed every year. When your folks change the clocks in your home each fall, you can remind them to change the alarm batteries while they're at it.
- Replace CO alarms after two to five years and smoke alarms after ten years.
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Portable Propane Heaters
STAY SAFE while you stay warm
It can be very dangerous when a portable propane heater is used improperly. When you catch a chill, be careful if you choose to use a space heater to warm up.
- Never use a portable propane heater in an enclosed space because it can produce the poisonous gas known as carbon monoxide.
Did You Know?
The improper use of space heaters is one of the leading causes of fires and carbon monoxide exposure in homes and cottages.
Things you should know about fuel-burning portable space heaters, such as propane or kerosene-fired ones:
- These kinds of heaters should only be use outdoors, in a well-ventilated area.
- They should never be used inside your garage, house, cottage, or any enclosed space. If they are used inside, they will cause deadly carbon monoxide exposure.
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Fuel Handling (Gasoline and Propane)
Gasoline and propane are common fuels that we use around the home to get lots of jobs done. But they must be handled properly to make sure they don't become a hazard.
- Your parents should always store fuel outside in a well-ventilated shed or detached garage. It should be kept away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat.
- It should be kept away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat.
- Your parents should use only approved fuel containers with the CSA, or ULC symbol.
- These containers should be kept well away from sparks or other sources of flame.
- When filling a fuel container, your parents should keep it steady by placing it on the ground. Once they're finished, they should tighten both of the caps.
- Never leave a container of gasoline in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car.
The best way to dispose of gasoline is to use it all up. If your parents end up with leftover gasoline, it should never be poured on the ground, down sewers, or into drains. The best place to get rid of it is a hazardous waste disposal centre in your area.
- Your parents should always carry a propane cylinder in an upright position with the safety valve on top.
- The best way to transport a propane tank is on the floor of a car or truck in the passenger area. It shouldn't be placed in a trunk.
- The cylinder should be secured in an upright position, so it won't tip over during the drive.
- When it is in the passenger area, all the windows should be open.
- A cylinder should never be left in a parked car with the windows up. Heat builds up quickly and could cause an explosion.
- When the tank is being reconnected to the BBQ, your parents should make sure it is securely in place.
- After the hose is reconnected, they should check that the connection is tight.
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