The Province is urging British Columbians to take actions to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, Nov. 1-7, 2022.
Carbon-monoxide poisoning has caused 118 deaths in B.C. since 2012, including eight so far this year.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, known as “the invisible killer.” It is produced when fuel – such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood — does not burn completely in fuel-burning appliances and devices.
“The loss of life due to carbon-monoxide poisoning is tragic, and it’s critical that everyone learns about its dangers and what they can do to stop it from happening,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is an annual reminder to get your fuel-burning appliances professionally inspected and to install carbon-monoxide alarms. These are potentially life-saving steps.”
In addition to installing alarms on every floor in their home, people should test their alarms at least once a month to ensure they are in working order. Maintain and replace batteries in each unit according to manufacturer’s instructions.
“As we approach the colder months and furnaces are turned on, ensuring you and your family understand the early signs of carbon-monoxide poisoning could save your lives,” said Phil Gothe, lead executive officer, Technical Safety BC. “Carbon-monoxide awareness and preparedness in your home is crucial. Taking the appropriate steps, like installing and testing carbon-monoxide alarms and having your appliances inspected by a licensed contractor annually, can help protect your home from an otherwise undetectable risk.”
Carbon-monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion and drowsiness. At very high levels, it can cause death. According to the BC Coroners Service, there were nine deaths caused by carbon-monoxide poisoning in 2021 and eight so far in 2022.
“The Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of BC is dedicated to protecting the life and safety of our communities,” said Lisa Axelson, first vice-president, Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of British Columbia. “Not everyone needs a carbon-monoxide alarm, but if you have at least one fuel-producing appliance or attached garage in your home, please be sure to install and test carbon-monoxide alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Your local fire department can provide assistance if you need it.”
During Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, fire departments, educators, government and industry are working together to raise awareness about the potential dangers of carbon-monoxide poisoning, the symptoms, sources and prevention methods.
If you suspect someone may be experiencing carbon-monoxide poisoning, or an alarm goes off, get everyone outside immediately and call 911 or your local emergency number.
Visit the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Technical Safety BC or HealthLinkBC for information about the warning signs of carbon-monoxide gas in the home, the symptoms of carbon-monoxide gas poisoning, what to do if there is suspected exposure to carbon-monoxide gas and more:
To find a licensed contractor in your area, visit:
Learn about natural-gas safety from FortisBC: