Calgary firefighters busy with carbon monoxide emergencies during snowstorm

Calgary fire crews were busy on Tuesday responding to carbon monoxide emergencies after a storm buried the city under 40 centimetres of snow.

“Calgary fire crews tend to see an increase in weather-related activations of CO alarms when there is a large snowfall in a short amount of time,” said Carol Henke, a spokesperson with the Calgary Fire Department.

Read more: 5 hospitalized following carbon monoxide exposure at residence building in south Calgary

The quick accumulation of fresh snow can block fresh air intakes and exhaust vents which can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas and too much exposure can result in serious injury or death.

“Thankfully, no injuries were reported as a result of today’s CO emergencies,” Henke said.

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Read more: Keeping your family is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning

The Calgary Fire Department suggests the following to prevent CO buildup in your home.

  • Make sure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected by professionals every year before you start to use them, usually when the weather gets cold.
  • Make sure your vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances are always clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use gas and charcoal barbecues outdoors, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Never use barbecues inside a garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • Only use portable fuel-burning generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings. Follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Make sure to open the flue of your fireplace before you use it.
  • Never run a vehicle or other gas motor inside a garage, even if the garage door is open. Always drive your vehicle out of the garage right after starting it.
  • Install CO alarms according to the directions and pay attention to the clearance requirements.

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