Vancouver, BC (July 26, 2021) – As we head into the long weekend, many people are retreating to cabins, campgrounds, and lakes across British Columbia. Although these recreational destinations bring a welcome break from everyday life, they can also come with an increased risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Technical Safety BC encourages British Columbians to familiarize themselves with the signs, symptoms, and potential sources of carbon monoxide exposure.
Technical Safety BC, in its annual State of Safety Report, recorded three fatalities in recent years from carbon monoxide exposure at remote vacation properties where owners had installed propane-burning appliances. These tragic events potentially could have been avoided with proper equipment installation, the use of carbon monoxide alarms, and better public education.
Common sources of carbon monoxide can include portable fuel-burning appliances, such as barbecues, furnaces, propane refrigerators, hot water tanks, portable heaters and stoves, as well as lanterns, fireplaces, and the exhaust from cars, boats, and recreational vehicles.
One of the individuals affected by a tragic incident of carbon monoxide exposure, Jessica Taschner, has a message for British Columbians this summer:
“My life has been forever changed by carbon monoxide exposure. It cost me my partner, my independence, and it has changed my life in every way. The biggest lessons I learned from my accident is the importance of knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, the need to check on friends by waking them when they are feeling unwell, and how crucial it is that people have a carbon monoxide alarm with them when visiting recreational properties,” says Jessica Taschner, carbon monoxide survivor. “I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I have.”
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas produced when fuels are burned incompletely, including propane, natural gas, oil, wood, charcoal, alcohol, kerosene, or gasoline. Exposure to carbon monoxide interferes with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen and breathing in too much carbon monoxide can result in serious injury or death. Because of the nature of carbon monoxide exposure symptoms, most victims do not realize they have been exposed until it is too late.
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Headaches and confusion.
- Vomiting and weakness.
- Dizziness, and chest pains.
Dean Schmitke, Incident Investigation Senior Safety Officer, at Technical Safety BC, has some helpful tips for British Columbians to prevent carbon monoxide exposure while on summer vacation:
- Pack a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm and use it when visiting rental properties, camping, or boating. When possible, ensure vacation rental lists a carbon monoxide alarm on-site.
- Only use portable fuel-burning appliances outdoors.
- Never block exhaust outlets.
- Never ignore the sound of a carbon monoxide alarm and know the signs of carbon monoxide exposure in humans and pets.
If you believe you’re being poisoned by carbon monoxide, or if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off:
- Turn your appliances off
- Get everyone outside, including pets
- Call 911 or your local emergency number
- Seek medical attention.
About Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC (formerly BC Safety Authority) is an independent, self-funded organization that oversees 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.
Technical Safety BC