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Vancouver first responders see jump in carbon monoxide poisonings

Last Updated Dec 6, 2018 at 11:53 am PDT


Vancouver Fire crews are reminding you to make sure your carbon monoxide alarms are up to code, after jump in poisonings

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home?

That’s the question the Vancouver Fire Department is asking, as crews in the city see a jump in the number of carbon monoxide poisonings.

Not having a working and up-to-code alarm can be a huge safety concern.

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Duncan says you need two types of alarms in your home: a smoke detector and an alarm that detects levels of carbon monoxide.

“Check them on a regular basis, and keep the batteries updated,” he tells NEWS 1130. “We recommend changing the batteries every time we change our times — so twice a year. They do have a shelf life, and I believe it’s seven years.”

He says you should have them on each level of your house in order to quickly detect any leaks.

“A lot of people have various gas devices, whether it be a gas stove or a gas fireplace, a water heater. So it’s good to have them in every location.”

He says a recent jump in monoxide poisoning suggests most people don’t have an alarm, and if they do, they might not be replacing the batteries on time.

Duncan adds people should avoid bringing any combustible objects, like barbeques, indoors.

“It’s very dangerous. Not only are you generating heat, but you are generating carbon monoxide. It just slowly takes over your body and mind, and you end up in a bad situation.”

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colourless, and symptoms of poisoning include nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

The reminder from fire crews comes a day after 13 people were sent to hospital following a reported carbon monoxide leak at an office in Vancouver.

The office building apparently did have monoxide alarms, but they failed to go off.

FortisBC says the leak was caused by a boiler located in the building.

Four other cases of carbon monoxide poisonings have been reported in Vancouver this week alone.

Meantime, FortisBC is also reminding you to make sure any appliances that use natural gas are properly maintained.

“Having someone come in, a natural gas contractor, to maintain your appliances on a yearly basis is definitely recommended,” Diana Sorace with the utility says, adding this goes hand-in-hand with having functioning carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.

She says you should have your detectors placed within four to five metres of any fuel-burning appliance.

“Homeowners obviously should be aware that annual appliance maintenance measures that they can take yearly can prevent this, that CO poisoning is preventable.”