CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) SAFETY
STAY SAFE – get a CO detector for your home, RV or camper. Anyone with fuel-burning or gas appliances needs linked CO alarms near furnace, bedrooms and on each floor. Learn what your CO alarm sounds like and what to do if it goes off. Keep track of when you need to replace it, keep it clean, make sure it has fresh batteries, and follow other important instructions. Get a quality certified unit.
In one tragedy an entire Ontario family died because they did not have a CO monitor (CBC News). In the U.S. (2015) a slumber party fell ill due to a faulty furnace. And in the Yukon (2015), a faulty propane refrigerator would have created a tragedy if not for a CO monitor.
POTENTIAL SOURCES OF CO EXPOSURE:
Furnaces, gas & kerosene space heaters, boilers, gas stoves, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, gas fireplaces, charcoal grills, wood stoves, camp stoves, vehicles, boat exhaust, lawn mowers, generators, power tools with internal combustion engines; propane- powered vehicles.
Learn signs of CO problems in the home from the BC Safety Authority website.
Indoors and enclosed spaces:
- Never use camp stoves, BBQs, or generators indoors, in tents, in enclosed areas, or in a garage (they produce large amounts of CO quickly).
- Never use gas stoves or gas clothes dryers to heat your home.
- Never burn charcoal indoors.
- Only use portable generators outdoors and ensure exhaust won't enter doors, windows, vents.
- Make sure vehicle exhaust does not enter the home. (Example)
- Never run gas engines in garages (even with door open), or where exhaust fumes can get trapped.
- If inside a parked vehicle with motor running, keep a window open.
- Ensure exhaust systems don’t leak and exhaust pipes aren’t blocked.
- Ensure heating systems, fuel-burning appliances and heating devices are installed, vented and inspected according to instructions.
- Never cover the bottom of gas ovens with foil as this may block venting.
- Ensure vents on chimney, fireplace, furnace and stoves (and other) are not blocked (check after snow storms); inspect yearly.
If exposed to high concentration, a victim may pass-out with no symptoms in a few minutes.
CO EXPOSURE EMERGENCY: Get everyone outside and call 911. Get medical attention. Let them know it may be CO poisoning.
CO EXPOSURE NON-emergency (if no one is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning): Shut off fuel-burning or gas appliances; call your gas company; get a qualified professional to check & fix problem. See a doctor, let them know you have had CO exposure.
On-going low CO exposure is bad for health, especially for vulnerable people.
What are signs of on-going low CO exposure?
- Symptoms only occur at home;
- Symptoms improve when you leave;
- Other people have symptoms;
- Pets may get symptoms first;
- Plants may also be negatively affected.
LEARN MORE CO Safety Information:Examples of CO poisoning in the news