Donation could be a lifesaver
Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. The odourless and tasteless toxic gas is undetectable in a home.
It kills about 50 Canadians every year.
In February, 12-year-old Trai Schlichter died as a result of carbon monoxide exposure due to a faulty water heater in his Calgary-area apartment building.
Born in Niagara Falls, Trai attended Riverview, Valley Way and Simcoe Street public schools before the family moved to Alberta in 2011.
Coun. Victor Pietrangelo in February attended a candlelight memorial in Niagara Falls organized by members of Trai’s family who still live in the area.
Later that month, he made a motion at council in partnership with Project SHARE, requesting the city purchase carbon monoxide alarms for those less fortunate.
“For me I didn’t want this to be something where just my words were meaningful, I wanted to take some action so Trai wasn’t forgotten,” Pietrangelo said.
Council unanimously supported the motion and Niagara Falls Fire Department delivered 100 alarms to Project SHARE on Wednesday, to coincide with Ontario’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.
“People who come to us are trying to balance different expenditures with their income,” said Diane Corkum, the agency’s executive director.
“It may be a basic need but, for some people, when they’re buying food and clothing for their children, this might be one of the last things on their list to purchase.”
The carbon monoxide alarms will be available to clients on a first-come, first-served basis starting Thursday.
In Ontario, according to Ben Trendle, chief fire prevention officer with the Niagara Falls fire department, more than 65 per cent of injuries and deaths from carbon monoxide occur in the home.
“We want to make sure everyone is safe from CO,” he said.
Under the Ontario Fire Code, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of a home if the residence has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.
“For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home according to manufacturer’s instructions,” Trendle said.
The fire department encourages residents to have all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually by a registered contractor.
Fuel-burning appliances can include furnaces, hot water heaters, gas or wood fireplaces, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators, barbecues, stoves and vehicles.
Prevent carbon monoxide in your home:
• Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected annually. Visit www.COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor.
• Check that all outside appliance vents are not blocked.
• Barbecues should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Never use barbecues inside garages, even if the garage doors are open.
• Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors
in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
• Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
• Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
• Open the flue before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
• Never run a vehicle or other fuelled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open.
Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure:
• Exposure can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
• If the alarm sounds, and residents exhibit symptoms of CO exposure, get everyone out of the home immediately. Call 911 from outside the building.
• If your CO alarm sounds, and no one is suffering from symptoms, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its “end-of-life” stage before calling 911.
Know the sound of your carbon monoxide alarm:
• A CO alarm sounds different than a smoke alarm. Test both alarms monthly and make sure everyone in the home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.
• Don’t be confused by the sound of a CO alarm’s low-battery warning. Follow the alarm manufacturer’s instructions so you know the difference between the low-battery warning, the “end-of-life” warning, and the alarm alerting you to the presence of CO in the home.
For further information, visit COsafety.ca.
Diane Corkum, Project SHARE, with Coun. Victor Pietrangelo, deputy fire chief Phil Ross, and fire prevention officers Ben Trendle and Mark Slinn.