It was a frightening experience for Gord Bashford and his family.

The family was awoken on Wednesday morning by an alarm after their furnace started leaking carbon monoxide.

“We were all sleeping in the bed and our smoke alarms went off.  We called the fire service for their help and when they entered the house, right away their CO detectors went off instantly. So we knew right then and there we did the right thing.”

The family credits their carbon monoxide alarm for saving their lives, but a closer look shows it was actually set to expire this year.

“Had this had happen six months from now they might not have been so lucky,” says Samantha Hoffmann, fire and life safety officer with Barrie fire.

The close call is why the Barrie fire department is using this family as an example of how important it is to have working CO alarms.

“It's an opportunity to check the date on your alarms and make sure that they're working because they're the only protection you have. You can't see, taste or smell carbon monoxide. That alarm is what stays awake when you're sleeping.”

In fact, after tweeting about the incident, the company that makes the alarms offered to donate new ones for the family

“The situation could of definitely gone worse and rather quickly too so definitely we're fortunate,” says Sherry Gosse, Bashford’s wife.

Barrie fire is also warning people that not having working carbon monoxide detectors inside your home is actually illegal.

They’re required, by law, outside of all sleeping areas.