Time running out on mandatory ‘silent killer’ detector

Members of the Cornwall Fire Department recognize CO Awareness Week with (starting from second left) Fire Chief Richard McCullough, MPP Ernie Hardeman, MPP Jim McDonell and Insurance Bureau of Canada Goverment Relations Manager Matt Hiraishi (right). (Cornwall Newswatch)

CORNWALL – You may not be aware but the grace period on having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home is quickly closing.

This was Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and MPP Ernie Hardeman, local MPP Jim McDonell and Matt Hiraishi of the Insurance Bureau of Canada held a news conference Friday at the Cornwall Fire Department to donate 84 CO detectors.

The nearly $4,000 gift comes from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which gets its money from major corporate insurance underwriters.

Pictured (from left) are MPP Jim McDonell, MPP Ernie Hardeman and Fire Chief Richard McCullough with some of the CO detector donations. (Cornwall Newswatch)
Pictured (from left) are MPP Jim McDonell, MPP Ernie Hardeman and Fire Chief Richard McCullough with some of the CO detector donations. (Cornwall Newswatch)

These CO detection units will be used as firefighters respond to calls where they don’t find a CO detector in a home that has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage. In apartment buildings, the landlord is responsible for installing CO detectors.

The only exception is places that have no attached garage and no fuel-burning appliance or fireplace. For example, if you only have baseboard electric heat, no gas dryer or water heater, no fireplace and no attached garage you don’t need a CO detector.

So far this year, Cornwall firefighters have been to six homes were CO, dubbed “the silent killer,” was found inside the building. There were seven incidents in the city in 2013 and 13 in 2012 where the colourless, odourless gas was found.

This was a one-time gift which may be done again if IBC is still on board with the program. IBC is giving out roughly 2,000 units to fire departments province-wide.

Hardeman’s private member’s bill – the Hawkins Gignac Act – was signed into law in November, 2013 in memory of a Woodstock family killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2008.

Hardeman concedes that even he didn’t act right away on getting a CO detector but he’s hoping you will. “I had only put one in my house about three months prior to this happening (the bill passing) and I should have been one of the one’s most aware of it,” Hardeman said.

The grace period on having a CO detector ends April 15, 2015. After that it’s a $235 fine.

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