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December 3, 2014

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Ontario’s New CO Alarm Law – The Hawkins-Gignac Act Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as ‘The Silent Killer’ because you can’t see it, taste it or smell it. The only way to detect the presence of the deadly gas is to install a carbon monoxide alarm. On October 15, 2014, the Ontario Government formally enacted a new law - The Hawkins-Gignac Act - making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes at risk of CO. This revision to the Ontario Fire Code, supersedes any existing municipal by-laws.

Now, no matter the age of your home, if you have any oil, propane or gas-burning appliances, furnace or water heater, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage, you must have working carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas. Ontario’s new CO alarm law brings a consistent level of protection to all Ontarians.

CO Safety Tips to Protect Your Family

  • It is law in Ontario to install CO alarms outside sleeping areas.
  • CO alarms are required by law to be replaced within the time frame indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions and/or on the label on the unit. Some new CO alarms offer sealed lithium batteries that last 10 years from activation.
  • For optimal protection, install additional CO alarms on every floor of the home.
  • Have a licenced technician inspect your fuel burning appliances annually, (eg. furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.
  • For families with older parents or relatives, it is wise to help them inspect their CO alarms.
  • CO alarms don’t last forever. They need to be replaced every 7-10 years, depending on the brand.
  • If your alarm goes off get everyone out of the house, stay out and call 911! Exposure to CO reduces your ability to think clearly, so never delay if your alarm goes off and you sense a problem.

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Warning from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs - Unapproved Vent-Free Heater being sold in Ontario
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The Pro Com Vent Free appliance was found being sold at a local Liquidation World Store. This is advertised as a vent-free fireplace system. The Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) says that these units are not approved for sale in Canada. The local Liquidation World Store advised that these appliances were supplied by Head Office and that they could be sold all over Ontario. TSSA is issuing a provincial offence in order to discontinue the sale of these appliances but we were advised that they have been in the stores for a while and there could be a lot of them already sold. If some consumers have already purchased such a unit, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs recommends they return this unapproved product to their local Liquidation World store and that they inquire as to how they may be reimbursed.

The OAFC was also informed camp heaters by the same company, also not approved for sale in Canada, are being sold.

RECALL: Barbeque (Models FG50045, FG50057, FG50069, C1072-30744, C1072-30754)
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On July 9, 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc., announced a voluntary recall of 94,000 dual sensor smoke alarms. The recall indicates an electrostatic discharge can damage the unit, causing it not to warn consumers of a fire. The smoke alarm were marked with the UL Listing Marks for the United States and Canada.
The recall notice can be viewed at:

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