Important safety reminders for Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month (November)

Haldimand County Emergency Services has issued some important safety reminders for residents ahead of Carbon Monoxide Awareness month. Carbon Monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.

November was declared Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month in 2013 following the passing of the Hawkins Gignac Act. The Hawkins Gignac Act is named in honour of the Hawkins family — Laurie, Richard, and their children, Cassandra and Jordan — who were tragically killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their Woodstock home. The tragic outcome of carbon monoxide poisoning was felt locally – in Cayuga – after 12 year old Nolan Young passed away due to CO poisoning. Since his death, the Young family has tirelessly worked to spread awareness of this silent killer.

“Carbon monoxide is a real risk because you can’t see it or smell it or taste it. The only way to mitigate tragedy and protect your family is to have functioning carbon monoxide alarms in your household,” said Richard Geerdink, Fire Prevention Officer for Haldimand County. “If your home uses fuel-burning appliances like natural gas, propane, wood or oil, you need to have a carbon monoxide alarm outside of all sleeping areas and it’s recommended to have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home,” he continued.

Residents with attached garages are required to have alarms installed as well.  Appliances that are rarely used over the summer months may develop leaks or blockages and cause carbon monoxide to accumulate inside the home. “It’s so important to have appliances and fireplaces inspected by a professional when the colder temperatures begin,” Geerdink stated.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic flu symptoms – headache, feeling nauseous, dizziness and weakness.

Residents who are unsure of where or how to install a carbon monoxide alarm are encouraged to contact Haldimand’s Fire Prevention Bureau for assistance. Residents who are unable to afford a carbon monoxide alarm may also contact the Fire Prevention Bureau as assistance is available.

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