Carbon Monoxide – Beat the Silent Killer

carbon monoxide poisoning

Written by Veronika Bradley, Editor for Children’s Health and Safety Association – February 2014 and Republished by Diligencia Investigative Reporting – April 2019

I opened my mailbox this morning and received a single piece of mail – a large, black card with white lettering that said “Beat the Silent Killer.”  Message received loud and clear – which brings me to you.

It’s that time again, isn’t it?  When you set your clock forward in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, March 9th for daylight savings time, it’s also the perfect time to change the batteries on your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.

According to the Technical Standards Safety Authority (TSSA) over 70% of all carbon monoxide deaths and injuries in Ontario occur in homes.  Statistics Canada states there were 380 accidental carbon monoxide poisoning deaths from 2000 to 2009 (latest statistics).

Unintentional carbon monoxide exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 hospital emergency visits and approximately 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless often referred to as the 'silent killer'.  Carbon monoxide is a by-product produced by the incomplete burning or combustion of fuels (natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline and wood) and released by furnaces, water heaters, cars, fireplaces, gas stoves, wood stoves, gas clothes dryers, barbecues, portable generators and fuel burning space heaters.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Checklist

  • Get an annual inspection for all your fuel-fired appliances in your home.
  • Visit to find a registered fuel contractor near you.
  • Make sure the outside furnace vents are not blocked.
  • Install a Carbon Monoxide alarm/detector on every floor of your house.
  • Never use a fuel-burning appliance or device in an enclosed space.

A big “thank you” goes out to the Technical Standards Safety Authority for issuing this wonderful, timely reminder to all Ontario households to not only act responsibility but also know the dangers of carbon monoxide.  

Proactive measures save lives.

Our Government is encouraging all Canadians to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. You can't see,

smell or taste carbon monoxide so a detector is the only way to alert you if there's a problem," said Eve Adam, Parliamentary Secretary for Health.

Fire Chief DeHoog of the Ottawa Fire Services said, "Every year, our team responds to close calls involving carbon monoxide in the home and the consequences can be tragic. Carbon monoxide detectors are just as key to health and safety as smoke alarms, and we appreciate the efforts of the Government to raise awareness on this important issue.”

If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector in your home this is the time to get one now!  Don’t wait.  Don’t hesitate!  Protect your family.  Do it now!


For additional information, Diligencia Investigative Reporting recommends the following articles:

Protecting You and Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – includes information on the following topics:

  • Where Should I Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
  • Where Should I install Combination Smoke/ Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
  • Reduce the Risks of Exposure to Carbon Monoxide
  • Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Watch Out for these Danger Signs
  • If your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off…
  • For the Safety of your Family – Please Remember… – Technical Standards Safety Authority – Global Edition

Health Canada – Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Prevent Illness, Save Lives


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