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Beat the silent killer: prevent carbon monoxide in your home

HAMILTON, ON – Ontario’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from November 1-7 and the Hamilton Fire Department reminds you to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) in your home by getting all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually by a registered contractor.  

The Hamilton Fire Department also reminds you to install CO alarms in your home if you have fuel-burning appliances, a fireplace or an attached garage. Fuel-burning appliances can include furnaces, hot water heaters, gas or wood fireplaces, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators, barbeques, stoves and vehicles.

"Residents must have a working carbon monoxide alarm adjacent to each sleeping area in their home if they have fuel-burning appliances. It’s also a good idea to install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home for added protection." -  David R.  Cunliffe, Fire Chief, Hamilton Fire Department

Know the symptoms of CO:   

  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.   
  • If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 from outside the building.
  • If your CO alarm sounds and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its "end-of-life" before calling 9-1-1.

Know the sound of your CO alarm:

  • Your CO alarm sounds different than your smoke alarm. Test both alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.
  • Don’t be confused by the sound of your CO alarm’s low-battery warning. Follow your CO 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 your home.

For more information about CO alarms in your home, contact the Fire Prevention Division of the Hamilton Fire Department at 905 546-2424 ext. 1380, weekdays between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, or visit