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Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Over the past few weeks, there have been multiple fatalities in Alberta resulting from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning  in vehicles. Each of these tragedies have left families, friends and communities to cope with unimaginable grief. The one positive that we can take from these events is the opportunity to educate ourselves and others about the dangers of CO and how to prevent these kinds of incidents from ocurring. CO poisoning is preventable if we all learn the facts and take precautions.

In frigid conditions like those currently being experienced across Alberta and much of the country, one of the common dangers we need to consider is the danger presented by idling vehicles.

  • It is always recommended that drivers do a quick walk around inspection of their vehicle before starting it. In the winter months, ensure that you check your tailpipe during your walk around to see if there is any snow or debris blocking it. If there is, clear it away before starting your vehicle.
  • Do not sit in your idling vehicle without a window cracked. You should always have extra winter clothing in your vehicle in case you get stuck on the side of the road and need to wait for help. Do not keep your vehicle running to stay warm. If you must run your vehicle for a short time to warm back up, ensure you crack a window and don’t leave it running for more than a few minutes.
  • Take your vehicle in for regular inspections and ask your mechanic to make sure that your exhaust is working properly.

Alberta Health Services has produced an FAQ with further information that can help you prevent CO poisoning.