WHAT IS IT: A colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.
SIGNS: Stuffy air, water vapour, back draft and soot from a fireplace.
SYMPTOMS: Headaches, weakness, nausea, vomiting and loss of muscle control. They can be mistaken for flu symptoms.
EFFECTS: If inhaled, carbon monoxide deprives the blood of oxygen. Prolonged exposure can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage or death.
CAUSES: Blocked or dirty vents, flues, chimneys and furnaces, as well as improper ventilation of burning fireplaces or wood stoves.
DEATHS: Approximately 200 per year.
PREVENTION: Annual inspection and cleaning of:
- Other fuel-burning equipment such as gas dryers
Safety tips on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
INSTALL at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.
ENSURE a wood or coal-burning stove is properly installed and vented.
DON’T operate a gasoline-powered engine, kerosene stove or charcoal grill in a closed space.
BARBECUE grills should never be operated indoors.
CHECK clothes dryer vents that open outside the house for lint.
CHECK forced air fans for proper ventilation.