If you get an unexpected knock at your door from a firefighter, don’t be too alarmed.
Kelowna firefighters are knocking on 750 doors in the Lower Mission and Rutland neighbourhoods to check homes for working carbon monoxide alarms.
The fire department will spend the month of April checking residences for carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and for those without alarms fire crews are giving away 150 combination alarms, which will notify people of both carbon monoxide and smoke in the home.
CO alarms aren’t required by law, but fire inspector Rick Euper said, they save lives and every home should have one.
“Carbon monoxide alarms seemed to be a forgotten code in some homes. The biggest push this year is to make sure homes that require the alarm have it,” said Euper.
The initiative is a partnership between the fire department and FortisBC with a plan to visit all Kelowna neighbourhoods to ensure the safety of residents.
“We want to have them in every home on every level, ideally in every bedroom. Since 2013, smoke alarms are required in every (new) building built and every bedroom, we want that to be the same for carbon monoxide,” said Euper
Euper said, carbon monoxide is the silent killer because there is no visible signs if you have been affected by the natural gas.
“There aren’t many signs other than if a CO alarm sounds to detect if your home is affected by carbon monoxide and depending how much of the natural gas you are exposed to, it can be fatal. We had one close call last year in the Rutland area where people were getting sick over night. The alarm won’t stop the problem but it will let you know when there is a problem and could save your life,” said Euper
He said some symptoms people may experience is light headed, nausea, headache and dizziness and confusion.
According to FortisBC, the key to keeping your home safe from carbon monoxide is to make sure house hold appliances are maintained.
“Always have your appliances installed and serviced by a gas contractor who is licensed by technical safety B.C., always keep your furnace doors closed to help reduce any poor burning and production of carbon monoxide,” said Damage Prevention and Emergency Services Manager Ian G. Turnbull.
He said, if your CO alarm sounds, open all doors and windows, turn off all appliances you suspect are faulty, go outside for fresh air, immediately call 911 and do not go back inside until given the go ahead by emergency services.