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A reminder to install CO detector from Coastal Health

If you’re burning wood, propane, gas, or other fossil fuels, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Vancouver Coastal Health urges the public to ensure their detectors are working, as between 2018 to 2022, an average of 55 people visited a VCH emergency department annually due to CO poisoning.

“There are many simple steps people can take to reduce their risk of exposure to carbon monoxide,” said emergency and hyperbaric medicine physician Dr. Bruce Campana. “These include installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home and checking its batteries every year. If you live in a home with a furnace, ensure it is checked by an accredited professional annually. These simple actions can save the lives of you and your loved ones from a gas that is silent and relentless, and can result in fatal consequences.”

During the winter months, hospitals will usually see an increase of CO poisoning cases due to improperly ventilated appliances and engines— particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space— which allow the gas to accumulate to dangerous levels.

In 2020, healthcare provider Jessica Taschner and her partner went on vacation to a cabin with a propane-operated refrigerator. It exposed them to CO gas, and days later her mother called emergency services for support. Her partner passed due to the exposure, and she was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

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“When travelling,” says Taschner, “know the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and always check if your rental has a detector. If there is no detector, then purchase one as a priority. They are so simple to use and could save a life. If you’re worried someone may have been exposed, always check on them by waking them to ensure they are conscious.”

More steps on how to protect your home and yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning is available here.

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