Carbon monoxide alarms

Effective May 16, 2017, every dwelling unit in the city is required by the Fire By-law to have CO alarming devices installed, if the dwelling unit:

  • Has an attached garage
  • Has a fuel-fired (natural gas, fuel oil, diesel, wood) appliance such as a furnace, hot water tank, stove, fireplace
  • Shares a common floor or wall with a parking garage, or a service room containing a fuel-fired appliance

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odourless gas that is produced by combustion. Gas and fuel burning appliances like the following should be properly maintained to reduce the risk of CO poisoning:

  • Furnace
  • Gas clothes dryer
  • Gas range or oven
  • Gas water heater
  • Gas or wood-burning fireplaces

To warn you of leaking CO gas, install CSA listed CO alarming devices and alarms that you can purchase from any hardware store. Purchase CO alarming device detectors with battery backup.

Warning If your alarm sounds, move everyone immediately to fresh air outdoors, and then phone 9-1-1. If possible, open windows and leave doors open for ventilation. Do not re-enter your home until the fire department has determined it is safe to do so.

CO alarming device detector installation

If hard-wired or electrically plugged-in, ensure the CO alarming device is not connected to an electrical circuit that has an on/off switch, other than at the circuit breaker.

Where a dwelling unit requires a CO alarming device, the CO alarming device must be installed either:

  • Inside each bedroom
  • Outside each bedroom within 5 m of the bedroom door, measured following corridors and doorways
  • Install CO detectors alarming devices away from heat-producing sources, and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Before installation, read the user manual.  The manufacturer's instructions are to be followed for the height of installation of the device.  In the absence of manufacturer's instructions, they are to be installed on or near the ceiling within 150 mm.

CO alarming detector maintenance

  • Test your detectors regularly by holding the "TEST" button down until the alarm sounds – it can take up to 20 seconds for the alarm to sound, so make sure you hold it down long enough
  • If your detector is beeping intermittently, check your user's manual
  • Install a new CO detector every five years

Find out more about fire and life safety

Vancouver Fire Rescue Services teach fire and life safety courses where you can learn valuable life and safety skills, and gain hands on fire extinguishing experience. Register yourself, or arrange for us to teach your group to prevent fires in your home, business, school, and other private and public places.

Sign up for fire safety training

Contact Fire Prevention

Monday to Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm

600 - 575 W 8th Ave
Vancouver BC, V5Z 0C4