Guelph Fire, Enbridge Gas partner in home safety initiative to beat ‘silent killer’

Left, Fire Protection Adviser John Doucet, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, Deputy CAO Public Services Colleen Clack, City of Guelph, Field Supervisor Shawn Artt, Enbridge Gas Inc., Fire Chief John Obsorne, Guelph Fire Department, and Chief Fire Prevention Officer Tony Sabatini, Guelph Fire Department.

Fire department receives 306 combination smoke/CO alarms

Guelph, Ont., November 5, 2019 – Today, during Ontario’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, the Guelph Fire Department and Enbridge Gas Inc. announced they are working together to improve home safety and bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero.

Over the next several weeks, Guelph Fire will distribute 306 combination smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to individuals in the community who are considered vulnerable, including seniors, those with financial challenges, and individuals living with a disability. Recipients will be selected by the fire department, in consultation with City of Guelph staff and community service partners.

The alarms were donated by Enbridge Gas Inc. as part of Project Zero—a public education campaign that is providing more than 9,100 alarms to residents in 40 Ontario municipalities.

“Project Zero delivers combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to Ontario communities who need them the most,” said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief, Emergency Management. “It’s a program that municipal fire departments can adopt to help educate their communities about the requirement for all Ontario homes to have a CO alarm if they have a fuel burning appliance or an attached garage.”

This year, the natural gas company invested $275,000 in the initiative, and since 2009, more than 44,356 alarms have been given to Ontario fire departments.

Carbon monoxide is a toxic, invisible, tasteless and odourless gas that can be deadly. In Ontario, more than 65 per cent of injuries and deaths from carbon monoxide occur in the home. (Source: Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management).

CO is produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood do not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices such as furnaces, gas or wood fireplaces, hot water heaters, stoves, barbeques, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators and vehicles.

When properly installed and maintained, combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms help provide an early warning for residents to escape safely from a house fire or carbon monoxide exposure.

“Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ for a reason, and we have proof that prevention saves lives. We know that the best way to avoid carbon monoxide exposure is to eliminate it at the source by properly maintaining fuel-burning equipment, and that the alarms are a critical second line of defense to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Murray Costello, director, Greater Toronto Area West and Southwest Region Operations, Enbridge Gas Inc.

“We want to make sure everyone is safe from carbon monoxide,” said John Osborne, chief, Guelph Fire Department. “Through Project Zero, Enbridge’s commitment to safety, and CO education and awareness, we are helping our citizens be better prepared to be safer in their homes.”

Prevent CO in your home

  • Clean and inspect fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents annually. Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you.
  • Check that outside appliance vents are not blocked.
  • Gas and charcoal barbeques should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Never use barbeques inside garages, even if the garage doors are open.
  • Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
  • Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Open the flu before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
  • Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.

Know the symptoms of CO

  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
  • If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number from outside the building.
  • If your CO alarm sounds and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its ‘end-of-life’ before calling 9-1-1.

Know the sound of your CO alarm

  • Your CO alarm sounds different from your smoke alarm. Test both alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.
  • Don’t be confused by the sound of your CO alarm’s low-battery warning. Follow your CO alarm manufacturer’s instructions so you know the difference between the low-battery warning, the “end-of-life” warning, and the alarm alerting you to the presence of CO in your home.

About Guelph Fire Department

For more than 100 years, the Guelph Fire department has proudly served its diverse community by providing fire and medical emergency services within the city of Guelph—24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, fire protection services are provided to Township of Guelph-Eramosa residents. The department, which is an accredited agency from the United States-based internally recognized Commission on Fire Accreditation International, responds to an average of 8,500 calls for service annually.

For more information, visit guelph.ca/fire or follow on Twitter @GuelphFire

About Enbridge Gas Inc.

Enbridge Gas Inc., formed on January 1, 2019 from the amalgamation of Union Gas Limited and Enbridge Gas Distribution, is Canada’s largest natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with a more than 170-year history of providing safe and reliable service to customers. The distribution business serves about 3.7 million customers, heating over 75 per cent of Ontario homes. The storage and transmission business offers a variety of storage and transportation services to customers at the Dawn Hub, the largest integrated underground storage facility in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Enbridge Gas Inc. is owned by Enbridge Inc., a Canadian-based leader in energy transportation and distribution.

For more information, visit enbridgegas.com or follow on Twitter @EnbridgeGas.

Media contacts

Tony Sabatini, Chief, Fire Prevention Officer
Guelph Fire Department
519-822-1260 extension 2134
tony.sabatini@guelph.ca

Kathy Ash, Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council
1-866-379-6668 extension 105
kathy.ash@firesafetycouncil.com

Enbridge Gas Inc. Media
1-855-884-5112
enbridgegasmedia@enbridge.com