A carbon monoxide alarm saved the lives of some Muskoka Lakes residents

The fire department says it was called to a home on December 29th because of an alarm. Firefighters went in with hand-held gas detectors that Fire Prevention Officer Douglas Holland says immediately showed very high readings. The highest readings were in the basement near the furnace room.

The people inside the home were evacuated until a gas service technician could be reached to deal with the problem.

Holland says this incident is a good reminder that carbon monoxide is the “silent killer”. You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide. CO poisoning gives you flu-like symptoms, except you may never wake up from it.

The Hawkins-Ginac Bill, which was passed in 2014, requires all homes in Ontario with fuel-burning appliances, wood stoves or attached garages to have Carbon Monoxide alarms. Holland says even if the law didn’t exist, there’s no excuse to not have one installed in your home.

He adds there are a few things to remember about CO alarms. Those include reading the instructions, making sure they’re installed outside all sleeping areas, that they need to be replaced over time (just like smoke alarms), the batteries should be changed at least once a year, and ensuring you know the difference between the low battery alarm and the CO warning alarm.

Holland says if your alarm does go off you need to keep all the windows and doors closed, get yourself and your family outside and then call 911.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your carbon monoxide alarms, you can call your local fire department for assistance. The Muskoka Lakes Fire Department offers complimentary in-home assessments for Muskoka Lakes residents.