Carbon Monoxide Shakes Small Community in BC


The community of Venables Valley in BC has been shaken by the deaths of four family members due to a carbon monoxide leak.

John Gignac, Chairman of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation spoke with the CBC about the tragedy and what Canadians need to do to protect themselves.
Click here to hear the interview.

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation was established to honor the memory of the victims of the tragedy in Woodstock, Ontario, which also claimed four lives.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the “silent killer” because you can’t see, smell or taste it. It is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America. Each year it proves fatal for dozens of Canadians, and, makes many more thousands sick with what they think is the flu.

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation provides these precautions:

  • Heating systems or appliances that use gas, oil, wood, coal or any other kind of fossil-fuel (alone or in combination) produce carbon monoxide during combustion. Sources of CO can include a furnace, water heater, wood stove, wood or gas fireplace, oven and automotive exhaust. Have everything inspected annually including flues and vents and keep vents to the outside clear of snow, ice and debris.
  • The ONLY safe way to detect carbon monoxide is an approved carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Like smoke alarms, CO alarms do not last forever. Lifespans range from 7-10 years depending on the manufacturer.
  • Exposure to carbon monoxide mimics the flu and reduces your ability to think clearly. Never delay if your CO alarm goes off or you sense there’s a problem. Evacuate at once and call 911. Do not open windows and doors before emergency crews arrive.

One CO tragedy is one too many. CO incidents are on the rise in 2017.  Safe at Home urges all Canadians to take steps to protect their families.