Residents of a five-story apartment building in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, were evacuated this week because of elevated carbon monoxide (CO) readings. Firefighters had responded to a CO alarm. Elevated levels were detected immediately upon firefighters entering the building. According to SOOTODAY.com, dozens of residents were temporarily housed in the fire service’s command unit bus, as well as multiple city buses, as firefighters ventilated rooms and hallways.
Had the alarm not gone off and residents were exposed to the high levels for more than eight hours, Platoon Chief Chris Gillespie says residents could have experienced headaches, fatigue and nausea. If levels had gone higher, people would have been in danger of unconsciousness or worse.
“Every house in Sault Ste. Marie by law has to have a working CO [alarm] and smoke [alarms]," Gillespie said.
Hours after the emergency, residents were allowed back into their apartments.
NFPA’s community toolkit on carbon monoxide alarms, created in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, provides everything educators need to motivate residents to install and maintain CO alarms, including safety tips sheets in English and Spanish, easy-to-read handouts in multiple languages, community outreach ideas, talking points, and a 10-minute mini-lesson.