TORONTO, Dec. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - An Ontario MPP, a former firefighter
whose family experienced a similar tragedy and a leading safety company
are collectively expressing shock and sadness following two carbon
monoxide deaths caused by a gas generator being used to provide
electricity to heat a home in Newcastle.
Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford said, "The extreme weather across the
province calls for increased vigilance. People need to remember that
carbon monoxide can occur any time gas, wood, charcoal or other fuel
sources are burned."
John Gignac, a retired firefighter and co-founder of the Hawkins-Gignac
Foundation for CO Education said, "The greatest carbon monoxide threats
under these circumstances are: warming up your car in an attached
garage; using a gas generator to provide electricity; and, using a
barbecue, gas stove or other ad hoc means to provide heat."
Carol Heller, a home safety expert with leading smoke and carbon
monoxide alarm manufacturer Kidde Canada said, "Carbon monoxide is
colourless, odorless and tasteless so unless you have a CSA-approved CO
alarm you won't even know it's present. Many carbon monoxide accidents
Mr. Hardeman became a champion for carbon monoxide safety following the
tragedy that took the lives of four of Mr. Gignac's family members in
Woodstock in December 2008. Mr. Gignac's niece Laurie Hawkins, an OPP
constable, perished along with her husband Richard and their two
children Cassandra and Jordan when carbon monoxide from their gas
fireplace seeped back into their home because of a blocked chimney.
They did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.
Mr. Hardeman's Private Member's Bill - the Hawkins-Gignac Act - called
for carbon monoxide alarms to be mandatory in all Ontario homes with
fuel-fired appliances or attached garages or carports. It passed into
law on November 27, 2013.
Following his family's accident, Mr. Gignac now spends his time warning
people of the dangers of carbon monoxide and urging them to protect
themselves with a carbon monoxide alarm.
Ms. Heller and Kidde Canada have been active supporters of both Mr.
Hardeman and the Gignac Foundation with CO alarm donations and other
The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation offers these cold-weather carbon monoxide
Have a licensed inspector check heating systems and all fuel-burning
appliances, including fireplaces, every year.
Install one CSA-approved CO alarm on each storey of your home and
outside all sleeping areas.
Check to ensure all outside exhaust flues and vents are clear of snow.
Never run a generator or vehicle indoors or in an attached carport or
garage even if the door is open.
Never use barbecues, gas stoves or other devices to provide heat.
Keep CO alarms current: Replace them every 7-10 years depending on the
brand, whether battery operated or hardwired.
"Most CO alarms cost around $30. That's a small price to pay for your
family's safety," Gignac added.
For more carbon monoxide safety tips, visit www.endthesilence.ca
Image with caption: "Carbon monoxide alarms, on average, cost $30 and are now required by law in all Ontario homes. (CNW Group/The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131224_C6639_PHOTO_EN_35244.jpg
SOURCE: The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education
For further information:
For Ernie Hardeman, contact Tara Barry: 416-917-6834 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For John Gignac, contact 905.755.1615
For Carol Heller, contact Pat Folliott: 416.879.2224 or email@example.com