Carbon Monoxide (CO), the Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide (CO), the Silent Killer

Can you see, hear, smell, taste or touch what’s in the white space that fills the rest of this window? It’s more than likely that you can’t. Carbon monoxide (CO), the Silent Killer, is a deadly, airborne substance that you cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t feel the fatal effects of CO until it’s too late. CO hinders your blood’s ability to absorb and transport oxygen to your body’s vital organs; eventually damaging them.

Changes to the Fire Code

In late 2013, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed Bill 18, which is “an act to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 to require CO detectors in certain residential buildings”. The new section regarding CO detectors applies to buildings with one or more suites for residential occupancy; and with a fuel burning appliance installed in the building, or a building containing a storage garage.


Tips to Avoid CO Poisoning

Each municipal fire department has varying standards for where CO detectors should be installed. Some want them installed in each room of a suite, some want them installed in all hallways, and some want them installed in both the hallways and suites. Find out from your municipal fire department what their requirements are.

  1. Install combination smoke-CO alarm/detectors in place of all current smoke detectors.
  2. Have your fire & life safety company hardwire the CO alarm/detector to a monitoring device to ensure quick response.
  3. Ensure there are no gas leaks from any fuel-burning appliance in your building(s).
  4. Ensure the occupants of your building are aware of evacuation procedures in the event of a CO emergency.

Implications for Building Owners

Section 12.1(3) of Bill 18 states that “The owner of a building shall ensure that CO detectors are installed in the building in accordance with this section and are mantained in operating condition.” Any building with only one suite for residential occupancy must have a CO detector installed adjacent to each sleeping area of the suite. If buildings contain more than one suite designed for residential occupancy, a CO detector should be installed:

  1. adjacent to each sleeping area in a suite if;
    1. a fuel-burning appliance is in the suite
    2. a fuel-burning appliance is in a service room adjacent to the suite
    3. a storage garage contained in the building is adjacent to a suite
  2. in a service room where a fuel-burning appliance is installed, not adjacent to any suite


On March 17, 2014, Jerry Pitamber, 28, walked in to his home early Monday morning after a late shift at the family restaurant to find his father, mother, and brother all poisoned by carbon monoxide. Jerry’s family succumbed to the effects of CO poisoning and passed away.

Click here to read more on this story.


Bill 18, or the Hawkins Gignac Act, is in memory of a family killed by CO poisoning in Woodstock in 2008. Former OPP, Laurie Hawkins, and her family were found dead in their home which wasn’t equipped with a CO detector. A similar bill was passed in Yukon.

Click here to read more on this story.

Call ProFire today so we can help you assess your building’s need for CO detectors.



Add Comment