MYTH Carbon monoxide is normally harmless, but can be dangerous at high levels.
TRUTH Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is dangerous at any level. It's created when fuels like the outside and do not build up inside.
MYTH Carbon monoxide has a distinctive odour you can smell.
TRUTH Carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless and tasteless, which is why it's called the "silent killer."
MYTH Carbon monoxide problems are caused by old heating systems.
TRUTH Carbon monoxide builds when the air circulating through our homes and heating systems doesn't get vented properly. Venting problems such as birds building nests in chimneys can happen in homes of any age.
MYTH Fuel-burning equipment like furnaces and fireplaces should be inspected every two to three years to make sure it's safe.
TRUTH Heating systems (furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and chimneys) should be checked every year by a certified heating technician before the heating season begins.
MYTH It's ok to use a gas or charcoal barbecue or run a car in a garage as long as the garage door is open.
TRUTH There's always the risk that carbon monoxide will leak into the house, even if the garage door is open.
MYTH There are no physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
TRUTH Carbon monoxide poisoning has symptoms that are similar to the flu: nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. The key difference is that there is no fever with CO poisoning. The symptoms tend to disappear when a person gets fresh air. These are all warning signs.
MYTH You should only call 911 if your carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off after you've opened the windows and doors.
TRUTH If anyone feels ill, get everyone, including your pets, out of the house regardless if the alarm is sounding or not. Call 911 or your local fire department for help. Once the source of the CO is found – stay out of your home until repairs are complete. If no one is ill, ventilate the building by opening all windows and doors. Reset the alarm. If it continues to sound, call a certified heating technician to check for carbon monoxide.
IF ANYONE FEELS ILL, GET EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOUR PETS, OUT OF THE HOUSE REGARDLESS IF THE ALARM IS SOUNDING OR NOT.
MYTH Certain levels of carbon monoxide can kill, but survivors can expect a complete recovery.
TRUTH Many victims of carbon monoxide poisoning recover with treatment. However, in very severe cases, CO poisoning can cause permanent brain damage.
MYTH The best way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a CO alarm in your home.
TRUTH The first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is prevention through annual inspections of your home heating equipment, including vents and chimneys. Alarms are a good second line of defense and every home should have one or more.
MYTH All carbon monoxide alarms sold in Canada are certified to Canadian Safety standards.
TRUTH Not all carbon monoxide alarms sold in Canada are certified to Canadian Safety standards. To make sure you're buying one that is certified, look for the CSA or ULC symbols.