- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Did I tell you the one about the three handsome firefighters in my bedroom?

The other day I was  at the kitchen table actually working when a really piercing "beep beep beep" started. I wasn't cooking, so I knew something was up and followed the sound to our bedroom where the carbon monoxide alarm was flashing some code.

I picked up the phone and grabbed my coat and called 911. While the dispatcher couldn't actually find my address on her screen (systems can't cope with our "A" Avenues), I could hear the sirens within a minute. The firefighters knew how to find me, and they explained what they were going to do and then left me safe in the fresh air while they went in with their Ghostbusters' sensors to find the source of my problem.

They ran the water (to check the hot water heater), turned the furnace up and back down, and checked the CO monitor that was making all the noise. Turned out that even though the monitor was plugged into the wall, the back-up battery had worn out and it wanted to let us know. It makes sense – it's not much use as a back-up if you don't know it is dead when the power goes off.

They brought me back in to show me how they had solved the problem with a free fresh battery and that the monitor was now displaying its happy, steady 0 again instead of a scary flashing 99.
(This was the part where I had three handsome firefighters in my bedroom.)

Thanks to the Owen Sound Fire and Emergency Services, I now know that I did just the right thing – called 911 and got out safely, without wasting any time trying to find the instruction book or Google the manufacturer to figure out the code. Sure, it was just a dead battery, but I didn't know that, and neither did the firefighters until they checked. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a clear, odorless, tasteless poisonous gas - and it kills.

So – make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm near your bedrooms. Check the date of manufacture – they only last about ten years. Check, and if necessary change, the batteries even if it's plugged in or hardwired. If you can't afford a new carbon monoxide alarm (or smoke alarm) or battery contact Owen Sound Fire and Emergency Services at 519-376-2512 to arrange a time to get the alarm or battery replaced at no charge.
And call them if you have any questions about the safety of your home, or the status of your alarms or fire extinguishers. They'll come out and see you. No sirens though.

Thanks again to the firefighters of the Owen Sound Fire and Emergency Services. I hope I never see you in my bedroom again.


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