Toronto Fire Services reminds property owners that they have a responsibility to know about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO). Having the knowledge and taking appropriate action can save lives. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of fatal poisonings in North America, according to the Canada Safety Council.
The recent near loss of life in an Etobicoke home with elevated CO levels was a reminder to the residents of Toronto of the importance of keeping their fuel-burning appliances are in good repair. In that incident, three people were transported to hospital with CO poisoning. Readings of 900 parts per million (ppm) were found in the residence – far above the 10ppm that is the acceptable level in residences.
Carbon monoxide alarms need to be tested regularly to make sure they are in good working condition, and they need to be replaced periodically according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Carbon monoxide is a gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It is produced by gas or oil furnaces, space and water heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, wood stoves and other household appliances that run on fuels such as wood, gas, oil, kerosene, charcoal, propane or coal.
If the house contains a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or an attached garage, a CO alarm must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area in the house. There are several types of alarms, including battery-operated and plug-in models. They should always be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
CO alarms have been required in homes using fuel-burning appliances since the City of Toronto bylaw came into force November 1, 1998. On October 15, 2014, amendments to the Ontario Fire Code regulated the requirements for the installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors under Section 2.16.
Residential occupancies were required to comply with the installation requirements for carbon monoxide detectors as of April 15, 2015. In addition, owners are required to maintain heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, including appliances, chimneys and flue pipes, so as not to create a hazardous condition in accordance with Section 2.6 of the Ontario Fire Code. The maximum penalties for Fire Code violations are $50,000 for individuals and up to $100,000 for corporations.
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