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Province says carbon monoxide alarms save lives

The province is urging everyone to take steps to stop carbon monoxide buildup, which has caused more than 150 deaths in B.C. since 2008.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, known as “the silent killer.” 

It’s produced when fuel, such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood, doesn’t burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion and drowsiness. At very high levels, it can cause death.

“We saw several tragic deaths in 2020 due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t wait until it’s too late – keep your family and friends safe by learning about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. 

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“During this year’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, take the opportunity to schedule your annual inspection of all fuel-burning appliances and chimneys in your residence, and install carbon monoxide alarms, which will detect the gas and alert anyone nearby about its presence.”

In addition to installing carbon monoxide alarms on every floor in your home, you should test your alarms at least once a month to make sure they work. Maintain and replace batteries in each unit according to manufacturer’s instructions.

“Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is an opportunity for British Columbians to educate themselves on the dangers of carbon monoxide and the easy steps they can take to better protect themselves and their families,” said Catherine Roome, president and lead executive officer, Technical Safety BC. 

“Carbon monoxide exposure can be deadly, but it can also be prevented by installing and regularly testing carbon monoxide alarms in our homes.”

During Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which runs Nov. 1st to 7th, fire departments, educators, government, and industry are working together to raise awareness about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, the symptoms, sources and prevention methods.

“Maintaining your natural gas appliances, installing carbon monoxide alarms and ensuring proper ventilation when burning fuels are the best ways to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Ian Turnbull, damage prevention and emergency services manager, FortisBC.

If you suspect someone may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or a carbon monoxide alarm goes off, get everyone outside immediately and call 911 or your local emergency number.

You can find carbon monoxide safety tips from Technical Safety BC here.

To find a registered contractor in your area, click here

Learn about natural gas safety from FortisBC here.

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