A Grey Highlands family escaped carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday night when their carbon monoxide alarm went off.
Fire Chief Marty Wellwood says a malfunctioning furnace was emitting CO in the home while the residents were sleeping.
Wellwood says his fire department received the call at about 10 at night.
He says an actual carbon monoxide leak is very unusual for a smaller community like Grey Highlands, "Most of our alarm calls are false in nature. It's either defective batteries or defective detectors."
Wellwood says firefighters arrived and used gas detectors which immediately showed CO levels in the house.
In this case, he says simply opening the windows and doors for a while was enough to get rid of the colourless odourless gas. But in more severe cases, fans would need to be used to get rid of the gas.
According to the federal government, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases in the winter as people are using fuels to heat their homes. Some the main sources of carbon monoxide are wood burning and gas stoves, gas refrigerators, gas engines, furnaces and kerosene heaters.
Meanwhile, Wellwood notes, even in the chill of winter, people need to get out of the house if an alarm goes off, "A lot of times, people can go and sit in their cars ands wait for the fire department to come. Do not hesitate to call 911."
He says a CO alarm will go off at 50 parts per million of CO.
When people are exposed to the gas, they can get headaches, feel dizzy and eventually, with a severe leak, become unconscious and even die.
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs says aside from physical symptoms, some signs of carbon monoxide include air that feels stale or stuffy, excessive moisture on windows or walls, a sharp odour or smell of gas when a fuel burning appliance turns on.
They also say burning and pilot light flames will appear yellow/orange, not blue.
For more signs of carbon monoxide in your home and what to do about it, see Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs website.
Station 1 responded to a CO alarm activation last night. Malfunctioning furnace was emitting CO in the home. Residents were sleeping, CO detector did its job and alerted them to life threatening issue. Everybody is ok, outcome could have been much worse pic.twitter.com/2HteuK9707— Grey Highlands Fire (@MGH_Fire) November 14, 2018