Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week Helps Residents Stay Safe

The Government of Saskatchewan is recognizing November 1st-7th as Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness Week to highlight the importance of CO safety and educate residents about prevention measures, something that is top of mind for Garth Kalin of Prince Albert.

It was early in the morning on a cold winter’s day that Kalin woke up to the loud sounds of his carbon monoxide alarms. Little did he know, he and his family were at risk of succumbing to severe CO poisoning in as little as one hour had the alarms not alerted him to the danger. The cause was CO buildup in his furnace room.

“Carbon monoxide alarms saved my family,” Kalin said.

Each year, emergency personnel respond to approximately 1,300 calls related to CO in Saskatchewan. Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 16 deaths were recorded due to CO poisoning.

“Our government is working to reduce the number of carbon monoxide incidents in Saskatchewan, and the serious health issues that it can cause,” Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy Don Morgan said. “Through CO awareness campaigns, simple prevention steps, and recent amendments to The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Regulations, we can prevent these deadly events.”

Through websites, social media posts and targeted media, SaskEnergy – in partnership with the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK) and the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) – will be promoting CO safety tips across the province during CO Awareness Week.

“It is vital to have working CO alarms in your home to detect the poisonous gas and alert you to danger before physical symptoms appear,” gas inspector with TSASK who reviewed the CO incident in Kalin’s home Jesse Abdai said. “You should also check vents around your house to make sure there is no debris or snow-ice buildup blocking ventilation. Regular maintenance of all gas burning appliances can help prevent CO accumulation in your house as well.”

“Exposure to carbon monoxide will put your family’s safety at risk,” SPSA President Marlo Pritchard said. “Every home in Saskatchewan needs to have a working carbon monoxide detector.”

Kalin encourages other homeowners to take CO safety seriously.

“Take time to go through some simple CO prevention steps to keep your home safe this winter,” Kalin said.

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