Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn has issued the following statement:
“November 1 to 7 is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in Canada. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous, odourless and colourless gas. It is produced by burning fuels like gas, kerosene, propane and wood.
“At-home risks for carbon monoxide include heating and cooking equipment; cars and generators running in attached garages; and blocked chimneys or vents. Your house, garage or cabin can quickly fill up with enough CO to hurt you.
“As we start turning up the heat this winter, there are a few simple steps for keeping safe.
“First, be careful with fuel-burning appliances. Never use an outdoor appliance, like a barbecue or portable generator, indoors.
“This is particularly important to remember during power outages when your regular heating system might not work. Make a plan for safe backup heat, or reach out to a neighbour with a wood stove, so you can keep your family warm and safe if you lose power during the winter.
“For indoor appliances like stoves, eliminate carbon monoxide at the source. Get a qualified technician to install all your fuel-burning appliances and your ventilation system, and maintain it every fall.
“Next, make sure you have working CO alarms. The Yukon requires CO alarms installed in all buildings with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages. Homeowners and landlords must install CO alarms or combination CO and smoke alarms on each level of your home or your tenant's home, within five metres of each bedroom. Test your alarms at least once a month. It takes just a few seconds and could save lives.
“Finally, know the symptoms of CO poisoning.
“Carbon monoxide reduces our blood's capacity to carry oxygen. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, and dizziness; fatigue, weakness, breathlessness; confusion and even hallucinations. At its most severe, it causes collapse, convulsions, unconsciousness and death.
“If you think you are being poisoned by carbon monoxide, or if your CO alarm goes off, get outside immediately. Call 9-1-1. Stay in fresh air until you get medical attention.
“Thank you to Yukoners who are making carbon monoxide safety a priority and the fire departments leading the way on prevention and education.”