Medicine Hat, AB - With the winter months settling in, the days are starting to get cooler.
With that, Hatters will be using their furnaces and fireplaces more frequently and because of that, the local fire department is reminding everyone to be careful.
Items such as furnaces can and will produce carbon monoxide and if your home isn't ventilated properly, this could cause an issue for not only you, but your family as well.
Fire Prevention Officer with the Medicine Hat Fire Service Grayson Smith said a carbon monoxide alarm is crucial in saving lives, due to the fact that you can't see or smell the hazardous gas.
"Whether it's a wall plug detector plugged into an electrical outlet or it's built in within a smoke detector, either or is fine," he explained. "They're both going to detect carbon monoxide."
Residents should also make sure their furnace and hot water tank is secured. Fireplaces should also be cleaned out and ventilating properly.
"It comes up every year because it's not something most people think about. Carbon monoxide detectors will usually last anywhere between three to seven years. Any older, they may tend to start malfunctioning and maybe won't work as well."
The most common area to place your detectors would be outside of the sleeping areas within your home. Next to that, detectors should be stationed near things such as fireplaces and furnaces.
If you alarm happens to go off, be sure to call 9-1-1.
"From there we'll have an engine come out and examine the problem with gas detectors. If need be, the gas department will attend to determine where it's coming from and to prevent it from potentially harming your family."
Now if you don't have a carbon monoxide monitor in your house, the symptoms will be similar to that of the flu.
"You'll start to get headaches, feel nauseous, a little dizziness and stuff like that. If you're unsure, either get a carbon monoxide detector or call the fire department to see what's going on."
Smith finished by busting a myth when it comes to carbon monoxide.
"There's a common misconception as far as carbon monoxide detectors needing to be placed lower to the ground. Whether it's a detector built into a smoke alarm in the ceiling or one plugged in lower down towards the floor, either will detect the presence of carbon monoxide."
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