CO Awareness Week: prevent exposure of CO in your home

VANCOUVER – This year, British Columbia’s second annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from November 1 to 7. The 2020 campaign reminds British Columbians about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and how to prevent CO build up in their homes.

Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer” because it is an invisible, tasteless, and odourless gas. Being exposed to CO for too long can result in a loss of consciousness, brain damage and, in extreme cases, even death. CO is produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, or wood are burned incompletely in fuel-burning appliances or devices.

To prevent a potential case of CO poisoning, it is critical that all fuel-burning appliances, chimneys, and vents are properly installed, maintained, and inspected annually. Because CO is nearly impossible for a person to recognize on their own, it is equally essential to have working CO alarms, which can detect the gas and alert anyone nearby about the danger.

During Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, fire departments, educators, government, and industry are working together to raise awareness among British Columbians about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, the symptoms, sources, and prevention methods.

 If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected or a carbon monoxide alarm sounds, people should leave their home or workplace immediately and call 911 or their local emergency number.


Catherine Roome, President, Technical Safety BC —

“We are all more focused on our health and safety these days – whether it’s protection from the COVID-19 virus, or protection from silent hazards in our home. British Columbians need to know that if you have fuel-burning appliances, the risk of carbon monoxide is a serious one. Carbon monoxide safety starts with knowing where carbon monoxide comes from and learning how similar the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are to the flu. Whether fuel-burning appliances are in your home or recreation property, along with having working carbon monoxide alarms it’s important to have appliances installed and serviced by a licensed contractor.”

Brian Godlonton, Fire Commissioner, Office of the Fire Commissioner, Government of BC –

“As the days get cooler and we move into fall weather, people are turning on heaters and starting to use their fireplaces. With so many of us spending a lot of time at home these days, it’s more important than ever to make sure our fuel-burning appliances are working properly, and we have installed working CO alarms. The Office of the Fire Commissioner has some excellent safety brochures available online that will help you stay safe from CO.”

John McMahon, Director, Safety and Training, FortisBC –

“Natural gas is a safe and reliable energy source and the key to keeping your home safe from CO exposure is making sure your appliances are maintained. FortisBC recommends that any natural gas appliance should be installed by a licensed gas contractor and should be serviced annually to minimize any risk of CO exposure. FortisBC takes all calls related to CO seriously and will investigate all potential CO leaks.”

Dan Derby, President, Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC –

“The Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC proudly joins the Province of BC and our partners in prevention during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. We encourage everyone to learn about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Help keep your family and co-workers safe by installing carbon monoxide alarms.”

Marco D’Agostino, President, Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of BC

“The second annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is November 1 to 7, 2020 and the Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of British Columbia is once again a proud partner. This campaign brings awareness to the seriousness of the effects and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning. The FPOABC is a strong proponent that if your home has an attached garage, fuel-burning appliances or a wood stove, CO alarms should be installed in bedrooms or hallways near sleeping areas, and on each level on your home.”

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