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February 25, 2015
For immediate release

Chief Coroner reminds Islanders of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

Environment, Labour and Justice

Chief Coroner, Dr. Des Colohan, reports that a fatality has occurred in Prince Edward Island as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning after the operation of a portable generator in a confined space.

“Carbon monoxide, at high concentrations, can render a person unconscious very quickly and continued exposure can lead to death,” said Dr. Colohan. “Fossil fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, furnace oil and charcoal should never be burned in enclosed spaces.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning is known as a "silent killer" for a very good reason. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. High-level carbon monoxide poisoning can cause unconsciousness in as little as one to three minutes. Even when not fatal, acute and long-term exposure to carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems.

“Portable generators should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided,” said Fire Marshal David Rossiter. “These devices produce large amounts of carbon monoxide, so you must always locate the portable generator outside, far from doors, windows and vents.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office offers the following safety tips to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide in homes or enclosed spaces:

• Install a carbon monoxide detector alarm in your home.

• If using a portable generator, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions.

• Do not operate a generator, gasoline powered engine, kerosene stove or charcoal grill in a home, garage or crawl space, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation.

• Each year have a qualified service technician check the furnace and other fuel burning equipment for safety and efficiency.

• Ensure a wood or coal burning stove is properly installed and vented and has adequate combustion air.

• Clean and inspect chimneys regularly.

• Do not leave a vehicle motor running in the garage, even with the garage doors open.

More information on carbon monoxide safety is available at

Media Contact: Amber Nicholson
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