November 1st to 7th is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. As the weather turns colder and furnaces get turned on, the Norfolk County Fire Department would like to remind you about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to avoid it.


Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer because it cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you breathe it in, and it replaces the oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, cells throughout the body die, causing organ failure.


Symptoms of CO poison include:  headache, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, and confusion.


Carbon monoxide can come from any source that burns fuel. Common sources are cars, fireplaces, powerboats, wood stoves, kerosene space heaters, charcoal grills, and gas appliances such as water heaters, ovens, and dryers.


Canadians die every year from accidental CO poisoning. There are some easy steps you can take to reduce your risk:


  • Put carbon monoxide alarms in your home near sleeping areas. If you install an alarm, follow the directions closely. Know what to do if the alarm sounds.
  • Test your CO alarm at the same time as you test your smoke alarm, at least once a month.
  • Have all fuel-burning appliances (such as oil or gas heaters, stoves, water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves) inspected each year.
  • Check chimneys, flues, and vents regularly to make sure they are in good shape, properly connected, and not blocked.
  • Do not leave your car, truck, or any other engine running in the garage, even if the garage door is open.