A Gift Worth Giving
December 1, 2013 by KERRY TURNER
On March 17, 2014: Yet another tragedy to prove that education is paramont to preventing more deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.
December 2013 Editorial
With Toronto’s recent notoriety it stands to reason that those west and east of Ontario have been paying more attention than usual to news from the heartland province. It is likely that most of HPAC‘s readers are aware that Ontario has passed the Hawkins-Gignac Act (Bill 77) – legislation requiring owners of residential buildings with a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and maintain them. Also, intentionally disabling a carbon monoxide detector is prohibited. The Bill, which is included in the Fire Prevention and Protection Act, requires that a battery-operated or plugged in detector be used in homes or apartments built before August 6, 2011.
The driving force behind the move to require CO detectors in Ontario homes is the uncle of Laurie Hawkins (www.endthesilence.ca). An OPP constable, Laurie died of carbon monoxide poisoning along with her husband and two children in December 2008. They did not have a CO detector in their home. The bill was initially brought forth in 2009 by Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman.
Fast forward to November 27, 2013 (and try not to ponder the delay) when the Act is passed. Ontario joins the Yukon in addressing this critical issue. In May 2012 Yukon became the first jurisdiction in Canada to make CO detectors mandatory in all residences in the Territory. This followed the well-publicized CO poisonings in January 2012 of three adults and two children in a home in Whitehorse.
After the Hawkins tragedy, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, ON, officially declared that CO alarms are mandatory. While certainly moving in the right direction, these halting baby steps around this public safety issue are baffling. Clearly Provincial and National Codes are not doing the trick. The 2005 National Building Code, on which Provincial Codes are based, states: CO alarms are required for any building that has a fuel burning appliance or attached garage.
During this holiday season consider how fortunate we are to be armed with the knowledge to protect ourselves. When you enter customers’ homes, be diligent, ask them about CO detectors (remember that, according to a recent national Home Safety Poll, 60 per cent of Canadian homes do not have a CO detector and of those who do 26 per cent do not think they have to replace them every five to 10 years). If they need detectors, sell and install them at cost, or direct them to a supplier. You are in the ideal position to provide an immediate means to reduce the risk, particularly since governments seem painfully slow in doing so.
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