FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Office of the Fire Marshal remind New Brunswickers to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes.

"Exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to health problems, illness or death,” said acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell. “Breathing carbon monoxide reduces your body’s ability to carry oxygen through your blood. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly, but can also have serious long-term effects on memory, brain function, behaviour and cognition.”

“You can be affected by the toxicity of carbon monoxide, even with a minimal amount of ventilation,” said provincial fire marshal Douglas Browne. “Cracking open a window or a garage door a few inches while operating a generator or propane heater indoors will not provide sufficient ventilation. Using a propane or kerosene heater indoors to keep pipes from freezing during an extended power outage is dangerous as these products create carbon monoxide. It is not worth risking your health or your life.”

Carbon monoxide has no smell, taste, or colour. Unless you have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home, you might never know it is present until it is too late.

“A CO alarm is your best defence in protecting you and your loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning in your home,” said Browne. “Many CO detectors are battery-powered and are still effective during a power outage.”

Russell and Browne provided the following advice on the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Never run a generator in your home, garage, or near a window or air intake outside of your house. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a generator.
  • Never BBQ, use a camping stove or propane heater inside your house or garage.
  • Note that carbon monoxide poisoning can still occur even if you have opened your window or garage door.

If you think you or a loved one have been affected by carbon monoxide, go outside immediately and then go to the nearest hospital or call 911.