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The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is warning the public again after three people were hospitalized Sunday, Nov. 12 due to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The three people are in hospital in stable condition. 

The WFPS says emergency personnel were responding to a medical call on Garfield St. when they entered the home and found a dangerously high level of carbon monoxide. 

"They got a reading in excess of 1,000 parts per million," said WFPS Assistant Chief, Mark Reshaur. "That can have a very significant impact on your health. Within an hour you can be experiencing severe headaches and convulsions." 

Fire officials say the build up in the home was due to a gas-powered generator being operated in the house. The WFPS says that level of carbon monoxide in a confined space could cause death in less than an hour. 

With the weather getting colder, the WFPS is reminding the public to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide, and is encouraging people to buy a carbon monoxide alarm. 

"Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas and you can't detect it on your own," Reshaur said. "You need a minimum of one alarm installed immediately outside of your sleeping area so that it will wake you at night when you're most vulnerable, but we do encourage people to install at least one on every level of their home." 

Carbon monoxide symptoms often mimic those of the flu, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mental confusion, weakness, vision or hearing impairment and shortness of breath. Reshaur says if not treated long enough it can also lead to convulsions, unconsciousness and possibly death. 

Reshaur says the WFPS has a few additional tips to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, including: 

  • Have fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces and gas dryers cleaned and checked annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on all levels of your home and outside each sleeping area.
  • Never idle vehicles in an attached garage even if the garage door is open.
  • Ensure that all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint or debris.
  • Make sure wood and coal-burning stoves are properly installed and vented.
  • Don’t operate gasoline-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecue/grills, or kerosene stoves in closed spaces or indoors.
  • Check forced air fans for proper ventilation.
Reshaur says you can buy carbon monoxide alarms at any major hardware store. He says it's important to get one that is certified under Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or the Canadian Standards Association. (CSA)

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