Do­na­tion could be a life­saver

The Niagara Falls Review - - Front Page - ALI­SON LAN­G­LEY

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.

BOB TYMCZYSZYN THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Diane Corkum, Project SHARE, with Coun. Vic­tor Pi­etrangelo, deputy fire chief Phil Ross, and fire pre­ven­tion of­fi­cers Ben Tren­dle and Mark Slinn.

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