There has been a rise in carbon monoxide poisonings in British Columbia over the last few days. According to Global News, 19 adults and 3 children were admitted to a BC hospital for treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning. One family was found unconscious in their home from the poisoning. The others were rushed out of an office building due to leaking gas from a boiler. Both incidents serve as a reminder that whether you’re at home or at work, you need a working carbon monoxide detector.
Still, you may wonder, why is there a surge in poisonings at this time of year? Leon Baranowski, paramedic practice leader with B.C. Emergency Health Services, told CTV News why he thinks poisonings increase in winter:
“At this time of year, as people start to turn on their water heaters, their gas appliances, fire places and panel heaters in unventilated spaces, carbon monoxide has the potential to build up in that environment. Over time, that can start to overcome patients and affect them.”
So, before you turn on your furnace, water heater, or other gas or wood fueled appliance, check the battery in your carbon monoxide detector. If you don’t have one, it’s wise to buy one to protect your family from poisoning. Plus, check with your employer or human resources department to ensure your workplace has a detector as well.
The Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
It is also important, if you run any gas appliance, to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. They include:
- Dull headache
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
Eventually, carbon monoxide poisoning will lead to death if not treated. In fact, it kills roughly 50 Canadians every year. If you realize you have carbon monoxide poisoning, a hospital can place you in a hyperbaric chamber as treatment. However, few people will seek help because, when serious, the poisoning causes confusion, loss of judgment, and memory loss.
It’s safest for everyone if you rely on a carbon monoxide detector to alert you to the gas before you get even mild poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
To keep yourself and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, follow these tips:
- Install a detector on each level of your home
- Install a detector outside of your bedroom area
- Check each detector’s battery every six months and before turning on any gas appliance
- If the alarm goes off, evacuate the building immediately
- Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
- If you suspect someone has been poisoned, know their judgment may be compromised, they will need you to get them help
Remember, though carbon monoxide poisoning sometimes happens slowly, it can become deadly quickly. You should always treat suspected leaks or poisonings as emergencies. If you need new carbon monoxide alarms, check out Air Treatment’s carbon monoxide alarm options.