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B.C. Safety Authority warns of dangers of carbon monoxide

December 03, 2013 - 11:10 AM

BRITISH COLUMBIA - The B.C. Safety Authority is urging British Columbians to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and to take proper precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.

As winter temperatures drop, many homeowners are turning up furnaces, fireplaces and other gas appliances to fight the chill. The authority recommends all gas appliances - including boilers, furnaces, hot water tanks, stoves, dryers and fireplaces - be inspected and serviced as indicated in the manufactures instructions or at minimum annually by a licensed contractor to ensure their safety. The authority also recommends all households be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.

"Gas and fuel burning appliances - including wood, coal or oil burning appliances - should be serviced at least once a year by a licensed contractor as part of your home's regular maintenance routine," says authority Gas Safety Manager, Brian Zinn. "Additionally all households should be equipped with Canadian approved (carbon monoxide) detectors."

Carbon monoxide detectors are now mandatory in new home construction in B.C., but may not be present in older homes.

"(Carbon monoxide) detectors are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but they are equally as important as smoke detectors to your family's safety," says Zinn.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is produced by burning carbon fuels such as propane, natural gas, wood, charcoal, alcohol, kerosene or gasoline. Exposure to carbon monoxide interferes with the body's ability to absorb oxygen, which can result in serious illness or death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include: light headedness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, chest pains, vomiting, convulsions, confusion, and dizziness. Other signs to watch for include: condensation on windows, plants dying, and having an entire family sick at the same time.

At particular risk are children who are more rapidly affected by carbon monoxide at lower exposure levels than adults, and seniors living at home who may not be as likely to have a regular appliance maintenance routine or whose exposure symptoms may be mistakenly attributed to other health issues.

If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure, leave the building immediately, call 911, and seek medical attention.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and gas appliance safety, as well as information about how to choose the appropriate carbon monoxide detector or locate a licensed gas contractor in your area, visit:

About BC Safety Authority

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
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