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Last Friday, Calgary Firefighters were called to a home along Centre Street in Ward 4, because a residents called 911 to report a Carbon Monoxide alarm going off. Inside it was 1000 parts per million, and that that level of exposure death occurs within an hour. The entire building was evacuated, and thirty residents had to be sheltered on a city bus to stay warm. Two adults and two children were transported to the hospital.

A blocked fresh air intake was the cause. As some of you know, CO is a poison gas that has no colour, smell, or taste. If you do not have a CO detector, get one. They cost between $35-50 dollars at any Canadian Tire or Rona. It is worth the price for assurance that you will be alerted if CO is detected. If you have one, test it.

It is not just your furnace where CO can form, if you have any appliances which run on natural gas or propane, then you need to ensure that they are running properly, and no vents are blocked. The alarm is there to allow you time to exit the building and call 911. Symptoms of exposure can be nausea, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and you can lose consciousness.

This event could have been a tragedy if it had occurred at night, and if there was no alarm. Thank you to all the first responders.

Sean Chu

Sean Chu arrived in Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 speaking not a word of English, and within 7 years he was a sworn officer with the Calgary Police Service. From that point on Sean worked with the Calgary Police Service as on Officer for 21 years in a number of roles until 2013.

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