Carbon monoxide poisoning can strike anytime: be prepared

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Colourless, odourless and tasteless, yet deadly, carbon monoxide (CO) can be a risk in unventilated areas, such as a house, garage, cottage, camper or tent.

“CO poisoning can occur before you realize its present,” says Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Kelly. “It reduces your body’s ability to carry oxygen in your blood, affecting major organs so it’s essential to have an operational CO alarm in your home, preferably located in a hallway near the bedrooms.”

CO gas is created when fuels are burning, such as oil, coal, wood, gasoline, propane and natural gas. Sources of CO include:

  • Furnaces
  • Wood stoves
  • Water heaters/boilers
  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Generators
  • Fireplaces/ blocked chimneys
  • Appliances that operate using fuels, like gas stoves, clothing dryers

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Flu-like symptoms at low level exposure, such as headaches, tiredness, shortness of breath, impaired motor functions
  • At higher levels, it would be dizziness, chest pain, poor vision and difficulty thinking
  • At very high levels, CO can cause convulsions, coma and death
  • Children, infants and pets absorb CO faster, so signs of a poisoning will become apparent more quickly

If symptoms appear, move everyone outside including pets. Once out safely, call 911. Exposure to fresh air should calm the symptoms.

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, Leduc Fire Services says you need to do the following:

  • Do not try to locate the source of the CO
  • Leave your home immediately for fresh air and call 911
  • Return to your home only after the issue has been fixed by a professional

Visit Health Canada to learn more about carbon monoxide and how to safeguard you and your loved ones, or call Leduc Fire Services at 780-980-8475.

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City of Leduc Fire Services operate under a composite, integrated staffing model of career firefighters, firefighter/EMTs, firefighter/paramedics and paid on-call firefighters. Leduc Fire Service professionals respond to fire and rescue calls, along with medical incidents.

Mariann McLaughlin, Corporate Communications