Orillia “ahead of the curve”…




Bylaw focuses on silent killer


A silent killer is the focus of a city bylaw that demands the use of life-saving alarms in homes where fuel is burned.

Following a year-long public education campaign, fire officials are now enforcing a bylaw requiring carbon monoxide detectors in homes with fuel-fired appliances, including gas stoves, furnaces, wood and gas-burning fireplaces.

Homes with attached garages are also required to have detectors, designed to alert households to the colourless, odourless gas that is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, and oil burn incompletely.

“Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and death,” said Orillia fire chief Ralph Dominelli.

Provincial law requires carbon monoxide detectors in new homes only.

Orillia’s bylaw, which was passed last year but came into full effect this week, applies to all homes with fuel-fired appliances/devices.

“We’re ahead of the curve on this,” said Dave Baker, an inspector with the Orillia Fire Department.

The department recommends placing an alarm on every storey and within close proximity to sleeping areas, as well as in furnace rooms.

“You need one within 16 feet of the furthest bedroom door,” Baker added. “If you have bedrooms in the basement, you need one down there, too.”

Fines for failing to equip a home with detectors will be similar to those levied for smoke alarm infractions, which bring penalties of $235.

Inspectors won’t be knocking on doors looking for infractions, but will levy fines if a home is found to be without detectors when firefighters respond to an incident involving carbon monoxide.

“For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home,” Dominelli added. “When one sounds, they all sound.”

Officials advise residents experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to leave the home immediately.

Baker said carbon monoxide detectors generally cost between $30 and $60.

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