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Last week, Monique Rupell woke up in the middle of the night to a familiar sound: her baby crying. When she got out of bed to go tend to her child, however, something unusual happened.

“I only made it a few feet and then vertigo just took over, and I fell back down onto the bed,” she said.

Hardly able to walk and feeling increasingly woozy, Rupell knew something wasn’t right. She woke up the rest of her family, grabbed the baby and took them all outside. When they called 911, they discovered that carbon monoxide had been seeping into their home.

If that baby hadn’t cried for whatever reason and woken up the family, it’s very possible they all could’ve died during the night. In fact, carbon monoxide leaks kill 50 Canadians every year, mostly because it’s hard for people to detect. It gives off no smell, no taste and has no colour, and often whisks people into a sleep from which they never wake up.

To make matters worse, some emergency service workers in B.C. are reporting a noticeable spike in calls related to carbon monoxide leaks lately. This could be attributed to the fact that sources of the leaks are often traced back to gas fireplaces or stoves.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way for families to protect themselves: carbon monoxide detectors. You can buy them at Canadian Tire for as little as $30. If you already have one installed, make sure to test it once every month.

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