ntario safety experts are urging cottagers, campers and backyard barbecue enthusiasts to properly maintain and use their fuel-burning appliances throughout the spring and summer seasons to prevent the serious hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Technical Standards and Safety Authority, an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for regulating fuels safety in Ontario, is coordinating the efforts of a Carbon Monoxide Awareness Committee to increase public awareness about the dangers carbon monoxide poisoning. The Committee, comprised of representatives from the fuels industry, regulatory authorities, fire service professionals, public utilities and appliance manufacturers are warning consumers that fuel-burning appliances such as barbecues, refrigerators, stoves and lanterns that are malfunctioning and improperly used can produce dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless toxic gas which is produced when a fire or flame is not burning properly. CO poisoning can cause fatigue, nausea, headaches, dizziness and, in extreme cases, can result in physical disability or death.
Consumers with malfunctioning fuel-burning stoves or refrigerators should never try to fix the problem themselves. You should have the appliance serviced by a certified technician who should be called upon to clean, adjust and check the unit at least once a year. Also, you should never use a fuel-burning stove for heating purposes. In an enclosed space such as a cottage, camper or recreational vehicle, enough CO can build up overnight to cause death.
The use of CO detectors meeting recognized safety standards are recommended as a good second line of defence against CO exposure in your cottage, camper or recreational vehicle. However, CO detectors are no substitute for the care and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances. Regular Maintenance and safe use of this equipment are key activities to help prevent a CO hazard.
The Carbon Monoxide Awareness Committee is committed to an ongoing, coordinated approach to protecting the public against the hazards of CO through greater awareness and understanding. Towards the end of the summer, the Committee will target these important safety messages about CO and fuel-burning appliances at homeowners in anticipation of the fall heating season.
For Safety's Sake, Please Remember:
You have a responsibility to inform yourself about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Your knowledge and actions may save you and your family.
Carbon monoxide detectors are a good second line of defence, but they do not eliminate the need for regular inspection, maintenance and safe use of your fuel-burning appliances.
Take the time to learn about CO detectors to ensure you are using this equipment properly and effectively.
This article was taken from pages 10 & 11 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, May/June 1998 Issue