Homeowners and tenants can pick up a free replacement carbon monoxide (CO) detector at the Trail fire station on Rossland Avenue, while supplies last.
The initiative, which coincides with Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, also extends to smoke alarms, providing the option for locals to drop off their broken or expired detectors at the fire department and replace them with new devices.
Designed to educate the public on what carbon monoxide is, the symptoms and sources as well as how to avoid becoming ill, the awareness week provides Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue with the opportunity to share their top tips to keep safe.
“The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can be devastating but they’re totally preventable,” says Deputy Fire Chief Glen Gallamore.
His number one recommendation is to install a carbon monoxide alarm that signals an alert when the gas is present. And, if you already have one, make sure it works.
As well, residents are advised to have at least one carbon monoxide detector for every floor in the home and to regularly test them. In homes with fuel-burning appliances, have the appliances inspected by a licensed contractor every year.
So far this year, the fire department has responded to a dozen calls related to carbon monoxide alarms.
As the mercury drops and winter approaches, local firefighters strive to keep the public safe and prevent those statistics from rising needlessly.
“If your alarm is going off and you are unsure why, get to a safe location and call the fire department. If in doubt, call us,” advises Gallamore.
“We have gas detectors on all our fire engines, and we’d be happy to come and check it out for you. Just please, never ignore the alarm, it is going off for a reason.”
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is odorless, tasteless, and invisible.
Exposure can be deadly.
Symptoms of CO poisoning can be similar to the flu including headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
“As part of your annual winterizing process, make sure heating appliances are inspected and cleaned, furnaces are serviced, the filters are clean, and that all vents are clear and not blocked by any obstructions,” Gallamore adds.
“Don’t leave electric space heaters on unattended and never use portable propane and gas heaters inside the home. Check CO alarms and smoke detectors as part of a monthly routine and remember that they don’t last forever.”
CO alarms and smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, and the batteries every year, or according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.