LONDON – Today, in recognition of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, Jeff Yurek, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London; Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford; and John Gignac of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation joined Matt Hiraishi of the Insurance Bureau of Canada as he donated carbon monoxide detectors to the London Fire Department.
“Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week occurs at this time of year because this is when people are turning up the furnace and trying to make their homes airtight which increases the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning,” said MPP Yurek. “The best way to make sure that you and your family are safe is by having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.”
Last year the Ontario Legislature passed the Hawkins Gignac Act, a private members bill introduced by MPP Hardeman, requiring carbon monoxide detectors in Ontario homes and establishing Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week beginning November 1st each year.
“Almost every home in Ontario has something that poses a carbon monoxide threat. Having a detector will help protect families and save lives,” said Hiraishi. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to continue to raise awareness of the dangers of CO.”
The Bill was named after Richard, Laurie, Cassandra and Jordan Hawkins, a Woodstock family that tragically lost their lives after a blocked fireplace exhaust filled the house with carbon monoxide.
“Of course I’m thrilled the law has passed and that all Ontarians can be protected from the silent killer,” says John Gignac, Co-Executive Director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education and uncle of Laurie Hawkins. “I’m also kind of sad that it took us this long and that people have passed away in the nearly six years it took to pass. I wish I could turn back the clock and put a CO alarm in my niece’s house so she could be here today. But by honouring my family’s memory and using CO Awareness Week to educate all homeowners, something good can come from something so bad.”
Carbon Monoxide detectors are now required in all homes with a fuel burning appliance or attached garage. They are also required in multi-residential buildings in suites with a fuel-burning appliance or adjacent to a service room or garage.
“Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous because you can’t see it, taste it or smell it,” said Hardeman. “But you can protect your family by getting fuel burning appliances serviced regularly, checking chimneys and vents and most importantly making sure you have a working detector in your home.”
“Given the colourless, tasteless, and odourless properties of carbon monoxide it is so important to have early detection. Over 80% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat. The recent introduction of a provincial law mandating carbon monoxide alarms will ensure all homes with fuel fired appliances have early detection of this threat.” Chief Gary Bridge, London Fire Department
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