FREDERICTON (GNB) – As part of Storm Preparedness Week, New Brunswickers are reminded of the threat that carbon monoxide can pose in their homes.

“Carbon monoxide has no smell, taste or colour,” said acting fire marshal Michael Lewis. “Unless you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, you might never know it is present until it is too late.”

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.

“Carbon monoxide poses a particular threat to everyone even when awake,” said Russell. “It is even more dangerous when people are sleeping. They might die before anyone is even aware there is a problem. In cases where it is not fatal, carbon monoxide poisoning can have serious long-term effects on memory, brain function, behaviour and cognition.”

She said there are a number of possible signs that someone is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning: dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness.

Leaving a window or garage door open a few centimetres while using a generator or propane heater indoors will not keep you and your family safe.

Lewis offered the following tips to prevent 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 use a barbecue, 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.

As part of Storm Preparedness Week, the government has posted a video highlighting the danger that carbon monoxide can pose.

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.