CO poi­son­ings prompt warn­ing

Penticton Herald - - CANADA -

VAN­COU­VER — A se­nior para­medic in Bri­tish Columbia is en­cour­ag­ing home­own­ers to buy car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors and in­spect their ap­pli­ances fol­low­ing a spike in poi­son­ings in the past week.

Leon Bara­nowski, para­medic prac­tice leader with B.C. Emer­gency Health Ser­vices, says the colour­less and odour­less gas can be emit­ted from fu­els in­clud­ing wood, gaso­line, coal and propane when they don’t burn com­pletely.

“At this time of year, as peo­ple start to turn on their wa­ter heaters, their gas ap­pli­ances, fire­places and panel heaters in un­ven­ti­lated spa­ces, car­bon monox­ide has the po­ten­tial to build up in that en­vi­ron­ment. Over time, that can start to over­come pa­tients and af­fect them,” Bara­nowski said.

A fam­ily of five from Bar­riere, B.C., was air­lifted to a hos­pi­tal in Van­cou­ver in se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tionon Thurs­day. Two fam­ily mem­bers were un­con­scious when they were pulled from their home and the mon­i­tors worn by paramedics in­di­cated high lev­els of the gas when they en­tered the home.

On Wed­nes­day, 13 peo­ple with car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing were taken to hos­pi­tal from an of­fice build­ing in Van­cou­ver. En­ergy com­pany For­tisBC said a tech­ni­cian iden­ti­fied a prob­lem with a boiler.

There were at least an­other three cases on the Lower Main­land in the past week, said Emer­gency Health Ser­vices com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Shan­non Miller.

Paramedics in the prov­ince re­spond to about 100 cases of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing over the course of the year, she said.

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