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Fire department seeks to reduce carbon monoxide risks

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Only five per cent of the 70 carbon monoxide calls made to the Norfolk County Fire Department each year are valid emergencies.

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The other 95 per cent are false alarms due to expired CO alarms or low battery warning chirps, said Cory Armstrong-Smith, the fire prevention officer.

Nov. 1 to 7 was Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, and the Norfolk County Fire Department is reminding local residents to check their alarms and be aware of the risks associated with carbon monoxide poisoning.

“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,” said a press release from the county.

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.

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 inspected each year.

Check chimneys 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.

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