Ottawa Fire Services are reminding residents to check the functionality of their carbon monoxide detectors after two recent close calls at homes in Ottawa.
According to officials, in the past two weeks, firefighters have responded to a number of calls where carbon monoxide alarms were activated. In some cases, the alarms were defective and needed new batteries or replacement.
However, in two cases, the level of carbon monoxide detected in the homes was highly toxic.
On the morning of Oct. 1, firefighters visited a home on Orillia Street in Alta Vista. The family of six had decided to turn on the heat for the first time this season, when their CO alarm suddenly sounded. They immediately called 911. Firefighters measured carbon monoxide readings in excess of 500 parts per million (ppm) in certain areas of the home.
Even minor amounts of carbon monoxide — 10 ppm or fewer — can be dangerous if a person is exposed to it for an extended period.
Another call was made to firefighters on Friday morning from a home on Franktown Road near Richmond. Firefighters measured carbon monoxide levels in excess of 400 ppm in the home.
Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas that can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and loss of consciousness. Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, causing death within minutes.
Carbon monoxide can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in a garage.
If the carbon monoxide alarm in a home is activated, residents are encouraged to evacuate and call 911. Firefighters encourage homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on the entry level of the home. Homeowners are encouraged to dust the detectors annually and change the battery, in necessary.