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Daylight savings kicks off Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

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As daylight savings time ends, Ontario’s Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness Week begins.

Oshawa Fire Services is reminding residents to install new batteries in all smoke alarms and CO alarms when setting the clocks back one hour on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 a.m.

It is required by law that all landlords and homeowners have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

Additionally, CO alarms must be installed near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Removing or tampering with smoke and CO devices can result in fines of up to $50,000 for an individual and/or one-year imprisonment.

Smoke alarms need to be tested monthly and replaced if they are more than 10 years old.

Also, all members of a household must know what to do should a smoke alarm sound.

All families should have an escape plan, complete with a meeting place, and it should be practiced regularly.

All smoke and CO alarms can be tested by pressing the test button and the batteries should be changed in the spring and fall.

Residents are also reminded that smoke and CO alarms wear out over time. Replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or if they are more than 10 years old.

A highly poisonous gas, CO is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it cannot be seen, touched or smelled. If a home does not yet have a CO alarm, now is the time to purchase one.

In condo or apartment buildings, that have a garage, CO alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of all homes above, below and beside the garage.

Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.

If a CO alarm sounds and occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 or the local emergency services number 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.

For more CO safety tips, visit the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management’s website at