CO Detectors – Now a Must Have
You can’t see it. You can’t taste it. You can’t smell it.
You just don’t know it’s there.
But thanks to a new provincial law sponsored by Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman, the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning for Ontario families may be reduced.
Hardeman was on hand Tuesday for a presentation of 66 CO detectors to the Brockville Fire Department from the Insurance Bureau of Canada to mark the new law and bring awareness to its passing.
“This will help protect people,” said Hardeman, who initiated a private member’s bill five years ago to require owners to install CO detectors in all residential units in Ontario.
The impetus for the bill from the former firefighter was the death of a family of four in Woodstock, in Hardeman’s riding, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning because of a blocked vent on their fireplace.
Hardeman said the Hawkins Gignac Bill, named for the family who died in the tragedy, is good for family safety and also brings some closure to the tragic events in Woodstock.
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark thanked his Queen’s Park colleague for persisting on the matter and coming to Brockville to help raise local awareness.
“It is one of the great success stories of the last parliament,” said Clark.
He said Hardeman’s bill won wide support because it is good policy and will prevent tragedies.
“You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide. The only way to know if this deadly gas is in your home is by having a detector,” said Clark.
He welcomed the assistance from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, represented Tuesday by Doug DeRabbie, and a donation of CO detectors that will help protect city residents.
The insurance bureau made the contribution as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the need for the equipment in all homes with a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage.
To date, the bureau has donated about 1,000 detectors to Ontario fire departments.
Brockville Fire Chief Chris Dwyre said there have been no recent carbon monoxide-related deaths in the city, but there is a consistent level of calls from residents alerted to trouble by their CO detectors.
“The calls are pretty steady,” said Dwyre, noting they are driven by people alerted by the alarms or who feel nauseated and suspect the presence of carbon monoxide.
“We recommend people have them outside sleeping areas,” he said.
Firefighters will ramp up an awareness program about the new law, he added.
Dwyre said a few of the donated CO detectors will be kept by the fire department as loaners for unequipped family homes and distribution of the others has yet to be determined.
By Nick Gardiner, Recorder and Times