The Technical Safety BC is alerting the public after two incidents of fatal exposure to carbon monoxide in the province.
The first incident took place in Egmont on the Sunshine Coast on June 27 that resulted in the death of one person and critical injuries to another.
On August 3, two more people died in a second incident in Tulameen in the Okanagan.
The Sunshine Coast incident occurred at a cabin on a recreational property. Investigators identified propane appliances that were installed improperly and not certified for use in Canada.
“Both incidents occurred on recreational properties where the owners had completed their own installations of propane-burning appliances,” said Jeff Coleman, Technical Safety BC Director of Risk and Safety Knowledge.
In Tulameen, an on-demand propane tank less water heater was improperly installed in a shower building.
“Due to the nature of off-the-grid and recreational properties we tend to see a lot of well-intentioned, but potentially dangerous DIY installations,” Coleman said.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas produced when fuels are burned incompletely, including propane, natural gas, oil, wood, charcoal, alcohol, kerosene, or gasoline.
Exposure to carbon monoxide interferes with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen and breathing in too much carbon monoxide can result in serious injury or death.
Because of the nature of the symptoms, many victims never realize they are being exposed until it is too late.
It is important that all fuel-burning appliances are installed safely and to the manufacturer’s specifications, Coleman added.
Technical Safety BC and other health and safety experts strongly advocate for all homes to have a working carbon monoxide alarm.