It is with the heaviest of hearts we report the news of young Trai Schlichter, 12, succumbing to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning Feb. 4 (see story on page 1).

The tragedy is made all the more devastating knowing it could have been prevented, had a CO detector been in place.

Perhaps most unsettling is this is the second CO incident at this location, with more than 80 residents evacuated in 2014 due to elevated levels of the gas.

Why CO detectors were not installed after the first incident is an appalling misstep in the face of the preventable death of a 12-year-old boy.

Some are calling on the province to mandate the installation of CO detectors wherever a smoke detector is required.

Currently, Alberta only requires CO detectors in newly-built single-family homes and near garages or boiler rooms in multi-family units. The building where Schlichter was exposed to CO is more than 20 years old.

Would mandating CO detectors be a good thing? Absolutely, but change takes time. If you live in an older building without a CO detector, please install one. If you have one already, take a moment to make sure it’s working.

We cannot wait for the government to mandate safety measures and need to take responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones to ensure preventable tragedies don’t occur.

We can only imagine the pain Schlichter’s family is feeling and pray something like this doesn’t happen again.


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