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The Insurance Bureau of Canada has donated 80 carbon monoxide detectors to the Stratford Fire Department in recognition of a private members bill that will see the devices share the same status as smoke detectors in provincial law.
The bill, named the Hawkins Gignac Act, was introduced by Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman after a Woodstock family was found dead in its home due to carbon monoxide poisoning five years ago. Hardeman, along with Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, were in Stratford last Wednesday to commemorate the donation.
"(Carbon Monoxide detectors) should go up in every home," said Pettapiece, adding the deadly gas is "tasteless, odorless …and people don't even know it's in their house."
Stratford fire Insp. Roddy MacDonald explained the detectors will accompany firefighters in their frontline trucks and will be distributed on a temporary basis to homes and buildings that lack one.
"This way, residents will have the peace of mind knowing they have a working CO detector," he said.
MacDonald added last year the Stratford Fire Department responded to 92 carbon monoxide-related calls, 10 of which were found to have traces of the deadly gas onsite.
Hardeman said the new bill will adjust the Ontario Fire Prevention and Protection Act so that CO detectors will be mentioned alongside any reference to a smoke detector.
The tenacious MPP has attempted five times to pass the private members bill, but each time has been thwarted by the slow slog of politics, including multiple prorogations of provincial parliament.
This time, the bill is set to have its second reading on Oct. 31. Hardeman hopes it will finally be passed, making CO detectors mandatory in all Ontario homes.
New homes have been required to have the devices installed since 2001, but there are still a great deal of buildings built prior to the rule that are unprotected.
Doug DeRabbie of the Insurance Bureau of Canada said he hopes the donated detectors will be put to good use.
"It's one small way we can help create awareness," he added.