VANCOUVER Fire and Rescue Services (VF&RS) on Wednesday once again warned the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) after several Vancouver residents narrowly escaped a tragedy when the furnace in their home malfunctioned and filled the premise with CO.
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, colourless and odourless gas emitted as the by-product of combustion and burning. Annually, VF&RS attends to over 40 CO-related calls.
Cooler wet weather means families will be using their furnace, which should be checked by a technician every year to make sure the venting and exhaust systems work as designed. Combustion appliances not designed for indoor use such as barbeques, hibachis or gas heaters should be used outdoor only in a well-ventilated area and away from open windows or doors.
Carbon monoxide alarms are the only way to effectively alert occupants to the presence of the gas, and should be installed in any residence where fuels are used for cooking, heating or hot water. Batteries need to be checked bi-annually along with smoke alarm batteries, and the unit’s expiry date kept in mind.
Anyone who is alerted by an alarm to the possible presence of carbon monoxide is asked to immediately leave the premise and call 9-1-1. Signs of CO exposure include lethargy, nausea, confusion, headache and loss of consciousness and eventually death.
In December, VF&RS launched the #WakeupVancouver campaign, aimed at reducing fatalities to zero by raising awareness about the importance of working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Visit wakeupvancouver.ca to book a free home safety check.