Carbon monoxide poisoning in Vancouver sparks off warning from Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services


VANCOUVER Fire and Rescue Services responded to a medical call Wednesday just after midnight in the 2700-block of West 34th Avenue.  Upon arrival, firefighters encountered five patients, two adults and three children sitting / laying on the front steps semi-conscious and confused. The patients were assessed for possible CO poisoning and transported to hospital by paramedics.

Firefighters shut down the residential gas service to the home, initiated a primary and secondary search and ventilated the residence using positive pressure fans.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas. It has no odor. CO gas is poisonous. It can make a person feel sick and can be deadly. In the home, heating and cooking devices that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.  CO is called the invisible killer because the gas cannot be seen or smelled.


CO alarms:

* CO alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. It is best to use interconnected alarms. When one sounds, all CO alarms in the home sound.  Follow the instructions on the package to properly install the CO alarm.

* Test CO alarms at least once a month.

* Replace CO alarms according to the instructions on the package.

* Know the sounds the CO alarm makes. It will sound if CO is detected. It will make a different sound if the battery is low or if it is time to get a new CO alarm.

* If the battery is low, replace it.

* If the CO alarm sounds, you must get fresh air. Move outdoors, stand by an open window or near an open door. Make sure everyone in the home gets to fresh air. Call the fire department from a fresh air location. Stay there until help arrives.


Prevent CO poisoning:

* When warming a vehicle, move it out of the garage. Do not run a fueled engine indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked.

* Clear snow away.

* During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.

* Clear all debris from dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace vents.

* A generator should be used outdoors. Use in a well-ventilated location away from windows, doors, and vent openings.

* Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO. Only use them outside.

* Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.

* Open the damper when using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.

* Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.


IF you are interested in having firefighters visit your home to conduct a FREE home safety check, contact 311 to make an appointment, or go to and type “Home Safety Check” in the search engine, or go to: