Fiona: Cases of carbon monoxide poisoning on the rise in PEI

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Fiona: Cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are increasing atÎ.-P.-É.

Install a generator at the inside a residence can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Prince Edward Island fire inspector warns of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as citizens rely on generators to keep warm.

The blackout is on its 17th day since post-tropical storm Fiona hit.

Charlottetown Fire Inspector Winston Bryan says his team has had to respond to 284 calls for help since Fiona's visit on the 24th september. The post-tropical storm uprooted trees and destroyed electrical infrastructure across the island.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Mr. Bryan estimated that 25% of calls relate to alarms from carbon monoxide detectors. These alarms are mainly related to improper use of gas generators due to power failure.

We've never been without power for such a long time,” Bryan said. People go out and buy generators, and they think they can just use them and plug in whatever they need to run their house.

Still according to Mr. Bryan, these kinds of carbon monoxide calls normally make up less than 5% of call volume.

He would like to remind the public that generators must remain outside the home, at least five feet from any window or opening. He adds that the exhaust device should point away from the house.

As of 7 p.m. local time on Monday, the Maritime Electric website reported that approximately 4,100 customers were still without power, compared to approximately 4,700 on Saturday evening.

Some customers may have to wait until Friday to restore power, according to a Maritime Electric spokeswoman.

On social media, it is easy to find posts from islanders offering their generators after power is restored to their homes. There's even a website, called Lend Power P.E.I., which aims to help those without electricity find one of these coveted machines.

But generators can be dangerous if misused. Their engines produce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can quickly reach deadly concentrations without proper ventilation.

Bryan said his team was knocking on doors across the city to help people get their generators running safely.

The day after Fiona passed, provincial officials announced that preliminary findings from an inquest into a resident's death pointed to the use of a generator.

A few more days Later, a Charlottetown hospital warned it was on high alert as it treated between 5 and 10 patients with suspected cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. p>

However, Mr. Bryan qualified that while call volumes for carbon monoxide alarms have increased, hospitalizations have been rare.

We get notified pretty quickly, he explained. We go in and we do air tests, we ventilate. And we watch. We have medical responders on our team.

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