Apr 17, 2019

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education has donated 50 carbon monoxide and 20 smoke alarms to the Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue to assist with the department’s ongoing public safety and awareness campaigns. Alarms will be distributed by fire crews to local individuals identified as requiring the safety devices, on an as-needed basis.

“I’m very pleased to provide these life-saving alarms to Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue and to support its department’s community safety programs,” said John Gignac, a veteran firefighter and Executive Director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education. “I applaud the department’s efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide (CO), and to highlight the preventative measures local residents can take to enhance their own safety.”

“When we find a home that requires a carbon monoxide alarm and it doesn’t have one, we make sure one is installed before we leave. This means we need a supply on hand at all times, and that is costly for small rural municipalities,” said Fire Chief, Greg Robinson. “We are very appreciative for this donation and recognition of our home safety initiative.”

Mr. Gignac founded the charitable foundation after his niece, Laurie Hawkins, an OPP officer from Woodstock, her husband, Richard, and their two children, Cassandra and Jordan, all died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2008. A blocked chimney vent from their gas fireplace forced the deadly gas back into their home. The family did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.

“It’s been 10 years since the accident. We can’t change the past and bring them back, but we can make sure that this never happens to another family,” Mr. Gignac said. “Please protect yourself and your family today. Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances annually, and install at least one CO alarm in your residence. Don’t wait for tragedy to strike.”

Carbon monoxide is called the “Silent Killer” because it is colourless, odorless and tasteless. The only safe way to detect the poisonous gas is with a working carbon monoxide alarm. Ontario law requires that at least one working carbon monoxide alarm be installed outside all sleeping areas in every home that has an attached garage, wood or gas fireplace, or any other gas or fuel-burning appliances. The law also calls for CO alarms to be replaced within the timeframe indicated by manufacturers (7 to 10 years).

For further information, contact: Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue (613-279-2935, www.centralfrontenac.com/en/living-here/carbon-monoxide.aspx )

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