Carbon Monoxide Safety

What it is

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colourless gas produced when fuel is burned. CO is produced by:

  • Vehicles
  • Small engines
  • Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas ranges
  • BBQs
  • Portable generators
  • Furnaces

What it does

CO is poisonous. Because you can’t smell it, you can be poisoned before you have time to get to safety. CO poisoning can cause death in as little as one to three minutes. Even when it’s not fatal, acute and long-term exposure to CO can cause serious health problems.

How to protect yourself

To prevent CO poisoning:

  • Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on all fuel-burning appliances
  • Never use a portable generator, BBQ, camp stove or other similar device indoors, including inside a garage or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas
  • Only operate portable generators outdoors and at a location where the exhaust cannot enter your home or other buildings through doors or windows
  • Use a CO detector at home, including if you have a home with natural gas forced air heating

More Information

FortisBC has information on preventing carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and CO alarms.

Health Canada produces a tip sheet on carbon monoxide and how to prevent poisoning.