Edmonton carbon monoxide spike accompanies recent drop in temperatures

With the recent deaths of two adults in northern Alberta and cold temperatures forecast for the coming weeks, emergency responders are reminding people to be alert to the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Earlier this week, RCMP discovered the bodies of a 64-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman in a house in Little Buffalo, Alta., About 75 kilometers east of Peace River.

After officers inside the house began to feel dizzy and lightheaded, tests determined the house had high levels of carbon monoxide. The case is still under investigation.

In Edmonton, the fire department responded to 34 calls involving carbon monoxide between Dec. 23 and 28, Fire Marshal Rebecca Webber said.

Webber said safety risks can arise when people try to stay warm during a cold snap.

“It could be from vehicles driving in attached garages, maybe incomplete fuel combustion or a wood-burning fireplace. Maybe it’s a chimney that wasn’t clean and the monoxide of carbon accumulates, ”she said.

What it is

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, petroleum and methane are burned.

It can reach dangerous levels when fuel generators, heaters and other devices intended for use outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces are brought indoors.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

Carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer because it has no odor.

According to Health Canada, exposure to gas at low levels can cause symptoms such as headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle weakness, and loss of function in a part of the body such as a limb.

Exposure to higher levels – or lower levels for long periods of time – can cause blurred vision, chest pain, dizziness, and difficulty formulating thoughts.

Other signs to look for include stale or stuffy air inside your home, moisture and soot buildup on windows and walls, a yellow flame instead of a blue flame from your appliances. natural gas and a pilot which continues to go out.

There are more than 300 deaths and more than 200 hospitalizations from carbon monoxide poisoning each year in Canada, according to a 2017 study by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit and the University of the Fraser Valley.

How to stay safe

Webber said all homes should have carbon monoxide detectors, conveniently located outside of each sleeping area.

“It is very, very important to have these working carbon monoxide alarms installed in your home, especially near bedrooms and gas appliances, so that you are alerted as soon as possible, then leave the house immediately and call. 911, “she said. .

Health Canada recommends that homeowners ensure annual inspections and regular maintenance of combustion appliances such as fireplaces, furnaces, gas stoves and water heaters.

Additionally, experts say homeowners should check that chimneys, fireplaces and vents are not clogged with accumulated snow or other debris, and avoid idling vehicles indoors. ‘a closed garage.

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