Carbon Monoxide, The Silent Killer

By December 7, 2020 December 31st, 2020 Safety

The frozen grip of winter has arrived, and we are beginning to hunker down and turn on our furnace / gas-powered appliances to heat our homes. If preventable measures are not taken there can be a possible odorless and colorless by-product filling our homes (from combustion) called Carbon Monoxide (CO). This is also known by some people as the silent killer.  

Every year, there continues to be a number of preventable hospitalizations or deaths associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. There are some general offensive and defensive tips that can either prevent such incidents or save you if an accident happens to occur.

Offensive actions (preventative):

  • Have all gas appliances in your home inspected by a professional on a yearly basis (i.e. Furnaces, gas fireplaces, and gas water heaters);
  • Keep clutter away from gas-powered furnaces “it needs to breathe”. As a rule, you should keep a space of a minimum 30 inches (76 cm) around the furnace. Please check your local fire prevention office and or local building codes.

Defensive action (your last line of defense):

  • Accidents can happen, and having a carbon monoxide (CO) detector on every floor and bedroom of your residence is not only necessary it may even be a requirement. Please check your local fire prevention office and or local building codes. Remember that CO detectors have a shelf life and may vary from five to seven years.

In closing, these simple tips could potently prevent incidents involving carbon monoxide. When in doubt call your local fire prevention office or even your home insurance company and they can provide some guidance. Be safe and have a great and safe winter.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide, check out our other blog Carbon Monoxide Protection with Woodstoves.


Elton Woodfine

Elton Woodfine

Elton Woodfine CD (Canadian Decoration) served 22 years as a member of the Canadian Forces. Initially as an Infantry section Commander in the Princess Patricia Canadian Lite Infantry (PPCLI), he served on two peace keeping missions in the former Yugoslavia, and one combat tour in Afghanistan where his unit was awarded the Governor General Unit Citation for actions in combat. He then continued to serve as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force as a firefighter, where he completed a diploma in Fire Science/ Fire-fighting from Memorial University and Occupational Health and Safety diploma from the University of New Brunswick. Lastly, in his career with the Canadian Forces, he served as a member of the Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU) as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Operator (CBRN Op), part of the Canadian Special Operation Command (CANSOFCOM). Upon his retirement from the Canadian Forces, he took a position as a Life Cycle Management of hazardous materials instructor for the logistical branch of the Department of National Defense and is knowledgeable in NFCC, CEPA 1999, IMHWR, TDGR, ICAO, IATA, IMDG, GHS and OH&S federal regulations.