Celebrating Canada Day? Remember to stay safe from carbon monoxide!

Are you all set to fire up the grill and have friends over for Canada Day?   Are you cleaning out your tents and RVs or opening cottages and cabins for the long weekend?

As you prepare for these activities, take the time to make sure your natural gas or propane appliances are in safe working order. Portable fuel burning appliances should only be used outside where they are properly ventilated.  Also, please read and understand the manufacturer’s certified instructions regarding the safe operation and maintenance of your appliances.

Last year, BCSA’s safety officers saw four carbon monoxide related cases which caused seven injuries. From 2007 to 2014, a total of 76 CO-related incidents were reported to, and investigated by, BCSA. These incidents resulted in nine fatalities and 149 non-fatal injuries. More details covering eight years of CO incidents and injuries can be found in the gas section of BCSA’s newly released State of Safety Report 2015.

A colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, carbon monoxide interferes with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, which can result in serious illness or death. Carbon monoxide is produced when carbon fuels like propane, natural gas, wood, charcoal, alcohol, gasoline or kerosene incompletely combust, and the risk for poisoning happens when this gas becomes trapped in enclosed spaces, creating a potentially lethal environment for anyone inside.

But carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable.  BCSA recommends carefully inspecting all gas equipment prior to use.  Aside from reading the manufacturer’s certified instructions and learning how to use and maintain your appliances and equipment correctly, ensure that your home and any enclosed spaces (like RVs or cottages) have up-to-date and working carbon monoxide alarms. Talk about symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning with family members so they are familiar with the signs and can react quickly if they suspect that they are inhaling too much carbon monoxide. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:  light-headedness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, chest pains, vomiting, convulsions, confusion and dizziness.  Those suspecting they have been exposed to carbon monoxide should turn all appliances off, leave the dwelling immediately and seek the nearest medical attention.

For more information about camping safety, carbon monoxide poisoning and gas appliances, as well as information about how to choose the appropriate CO detector or locate a licensed contractor, visit: /camping-safety

Additional Information:

Be in the Know About CO: Carbon Monoxide awareness

Quick Reference – Annual Servicing For Gas Appliances

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.


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BC Safety Authority

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