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Invisible, tasteless, odourless, and poisonous. Carbon Monoxide (CO) has earned its reputation as the silent killer. 

To help raise awareness about CO safety, the Government of Saskatchewan has recognized November 6-10 as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.

“This week is dedicated to ensuring the people of our province know how to protect themselves and their loved ones from the dangers of carbon monoxide,” Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy Dustin Duncan said. “A working CO detector can alert you to danger before physical symptoms appear, which is why our government made CO alarms mandatory in all buildings with bedrooms, regardless of when they were constructed.” 

Since July 1, 2022, a CO alarm has been required in Saskatchewan residences on each floor where there are bedrooms—either installed inside each bedroom or in the hallway within five metres of the bedroom doors.

Installing a CO detector is crucial to avoid exposure to the deadly gas. Another essential step is ensuring detectors are working properly. 

“The best thing to do is frequently test your detector and become familiar with it,” said Kurtus Reiber, a gas inspector with the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK). “Test the alarm once a month and remove any dust or pet hair. Remember to check the expiration date, which is typically five to seven years. If it has batteries, replace them as recommended by the manufacturer.”

Outside of the home, Reiber recommends checking chimneys and vents to ensure they remain free of ice and snow and performing regular maintenance on fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, dryers, water heaters, and fireplaces.

Physical symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning include confusion, nausea, headaches, blurred vision and drowsiness. Symptoms of serious exposure include vomiting, loss of consciousness, chest pain and shortness of breath.

“If you think you are exposed to CO, get fresh air immediately. If you feel the exposure is severe, call 911 or seek medical attention,” said Chris Stinson, SaskEnergy Service Technican. “If your CO alarm goes off, contact SaskEnergy to check if there is indeed a CO issue in your home or building. Fire departments are another resource that will respond to CO calls. Follow any instructions given to ensure the safety of all occupants.”

For more information and tips on CO safety and prevention, visit SaskEnergy - Carbon Monoxide and TSASK - Carbon Monoxide Safety.

To learn more about carbon monoxide alarm regulations and where they should be installed, visit Government of Saskatchewan - Building and Technical Standards Branch.

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