Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week kicks off on Thursday.

Carbon monoxide is considered the silent killer because it’s invisible, odourless and can go undetected. If a furnace or fireplace isn’t working properly, carbon monoxide can invade the home and be fatal to those who are exposed to it.

According to Parry Sound Fire Chief, Dave Thompson, carbon monoxide can be debilitating to anyone who experiences it. “It does cause flu-like symptoms so you can see it oncoming and even cause unconsciousness,” Thompson said.

“Carbon monoxide is a common occurrence during this time of year as people begin to fire up the wood burning fireplace or by using their furnaces for the first time in a little while. It could be that the furnace wasn’t maintained properly or that something has gone wrong with the flue of the chimney during the summer months,” he added.

As of 2014, carbon monoxide detectors are required by provincial law and is a punishable offence should a homeowner get caught without one.  Landlords are required to provide them in rental units. They have to be installed in any home that has a fuel-burning appliance like a furnace or a fireplace or that has an attached garage.

Thompson also said that carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every seven to 10 years as per manufacturer recommendation. You can also test them directly on the unit by pushing the battery test option.

The Parry Sound Fire Department sees approximately 20-30 carbon monoxide calls per year.