John Gignac speaks about the dangers of carbon monoxide during a stop in Vernon.

Carbon monoxide detectors promoted

A professional firefighter for 34 years, John Gignac advocated for smoke detectors in every home

A professional firefighter for 34 years, John Gignac advocated for smoke detectors in every home.

Now retired, Gignac is making it his mission to see that every home, by law, is required to have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm after tragedy struck his family.

Gignac, from Brantford, Ont., lost his beloved niece, Laurie Hawkins, her husband and their two young children in 2008 after the four died as a result of CO backing up from a gas fireplace in their home in Woodstock, 45 miles from Uncle John in Brantford.

They did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.

“We were very close,” said Gignac of his niece who lived with her uncle while she attended university.

“With fire, you can see it, smell it and feel the heat. Carbon monoxide is the silent killer. There is no smell, no feel and you can’t see it.”

Gignac was in Vernon recently to share his story at the Fire Prevention Officers of B.C. annual seminar at The Prestige Hotel.

He was the catalyst behind the creation of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation, which strives to make it law across the country to make CO alarms mandatory in homes.

Ontario and the Yukon are the only province and territory to put the law into effect.

“We’re starting to gain momentum,” said Gignac of his push. “Hopefully in the next two years, we can get it done. Our goal is to protect all Canadians.”

The foundation, which honours his niece and her family, promotes carbon monoxide education and raises funds to purchase CO alarms to be given to at-risk families by fire departments nationwide.

“My family’s tragedy could have been prevented,” said Gignac. “Please, protect your family by installing CO alarms. Warn friends and relatives too. Don’t let the silent killer take from your family, what it took from ours.”

More on Gignac’s story and information can be found on the foundation’s website, www.endthesilence.ca.

You can also make a donation through the website to help purchase alarms for families or individuals who can’t afford them.

 

Just Posted

Art After Dark may spark romance in Vernon

Vernon Public Art Gallery makes art accessible through alt-date night

‘Fuel Good Day’ pumps funds for local causes in the Okanagan

10 cents of every litre pumped at the Regional Co-ops on Tuesday was donated to non-profits

16 pot shops green-lighted by Vernon politicians

More recreational cannabis stores could be sprouting in town soon

Fines urged for owners who let their Vernon property go to ‘Sh**sville’

In dealing with former Legion building, city looking at options

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

‘This is not a drill’: Whistler Blackcomb gets first snowfall of the season

The 7th Heaven Summit had a dusting of snow Tuesday morning

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of top managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Summerland cadet earns glider wings

Summer training program was held at CFB Comox on Vancouver Island

$13 million Kelowna cannabis facility deal terminated

GTEC Holdings did not give a reason for the purchase’s cancellation

Arrest made after fourth threat closes a Kamloops high school in nine days

Mounties have been chasing down a series of threats made to schools across Kamloops

West Kelowna motorcyclist awarded $132K for traffic accident

Supreme Court of British Columbia finds pickup truck driver liable for motorcylist’s injuries

Most Read