The Other Deadly Danger Of A Flood

    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - The Technical Standards and Safety Authority
(TSSA) recently investigated a serious carbon monoxide poisoning in the
Niagara Region where three family members fell unconscious, one member phoned
911 and all were taken to hospital for emergency treatment. While everyone
thankfully recovered, it was an incident that could have been avoided - and
one which could have as easily happened to you.
    With the onset of spring and winter's welcomed thaw, a not-so welcome but
common event occurs: flooding. Apart from destroying valuable family
treasures, it can cause extensive and quite costly damage to appliances and
even infrastructure. Under such circumstances, you logically call your
insurer, gain an estimate on the damage and proceed with repairs.
    In the Niagara Region case, TSSA's investigation determined one root
cause of the incident: negative pressure. After getting hit with a flood, the
family hired a company to dry out their basement and prevent the growth of
mould (as is often the recommended practice of insurers) with large
ventilating fans. Unfortunately the basement also had a fuel-fired furnace and
the company was unaware of any danger. The fans created a depressurized
environment - or negative pressure - causing deadly carbon monoxide to spill
back into the home and send four family members to hyperbaric chambers at a
nearby hospital.
    One thing to remember that is critical to your safety? Fuel burning
appliances must be vented to the outside. Negative pressure conditions can
result in a back-draft of combustion appliances. And negative pressure can
    Carbon monoxide, otherwise known as the 'silent killer', is produced when
fuels do not get enough air to burn completely. It is an odourless, tasteless,
non-irritating poison that displaces oxygen in the body, causing the nervous
system to completely shut down. Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and
can include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, disorientation and/or
confusion. It can knock you unconscious or worse - lead to death.
    If unsure of any condition that may affect your fuel-fired appliance,
consult a professional fuels-related technician. All technicians must be
certified by TSSA. If uncertain as to whether your technician is certified or
not, ask to see a certificate number or contact TSSA at 1-877-682-8772 for
verification. On a final note, all houses should be equipped with carbon
monoxide detectors. Consult your local fire department as per recommended
safety conditions.

    About TSSA

    TSSA is an innovative, self-funded, non-government organization focused
on delivering public safety services. It provides not-for-profit regulatory
safety services in industry sectors such as fuels, amusement devices,
elevating devices, ski lifts, boilers and pressure vessels, operating
engineers, and upholstered and stuffed articles. The organization's vision is
to be the world leader in public safety services.

For further information:

For further information: please contact: Bernadette Celis, Public
Education Advisor, Public Relations and Communications, TSSA, Telephone:
1-877-682-8772, Email:; For more information on the Technical
Standards and Safety Authority, please visit

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