A group of over 40 Delta farm workers had been cleaning greenhouse windows using gas-powered pressure washers, when they began feeling unwell. Managers at the farm initiated evacuation protocols and called 911.
The workers had been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which can lead to headaches, dizziness and flu-like symptoms. In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause victims to lose consciousness and may even be fatal.
BCEHS paramedics and dispatch staff worked with Fire-Rescue first responders to mitigate hazards and engage their multi-casualty incident (MCI) protocols, prioritizing care for those who needed it most.
“They communicated very well,” said Samantha Wilbur, acting director of Patient Care Delivery Vancouver Coastal, BCEHS. “Our Patient Care, Communications and Planning (PCCP) team contacted the fire department, hospitals and health authorities. When you have this many patients that need to be transported, you don’t want to overwhelm one resource if you can avoid it.”
“Our Patient Transfer Network was on the phone immediately, as was our paramedic specialist in the dispatch centre. We worked in conjunction to establish what was happening on the scene, communicate it to our Patient Care, Communications and Planning Team, and share it all with the health authorities.
“It’s fantastic to see how well staff worked together. To have it go so smoothly in a big event like this is a huge testament to the training they receive and their work together in the field.”
At the scene, paramedics treated patients with oxygen, and tested their blood to make sure the treatment was working. The patients who needed urgent care were transported to hospital by ambulance. The less serious cases were accompanied by paramedics in a bus that took them to hospitals across the Lower Mainland.
All of the patients were later discharged and were able to return home, and to work. A story that could have turned tragic ended with the best outcome for all concerned.
“It’s a huge credit to all the paramedics who responded,” said Wilbur.
Below are media stories about the incident:
- Quick response to Ladner carbon monoxide scare – Delta Optimist, December 12, 2017
- 'Everyone is safe': B.C. farm workers in carbon monoxide scare discharged from hospital – CBC News, December 11, 2017
- Emergency response ‘well executed’ in B.C. carbon monoxide poisoning – Abbotsford News, December 11, 2017
- Farm company investigating carbon monoxide exposure that affected 43 workers – Times Colonist, December 11, 2017
- No fatalities after more than 40 people taken hospital following carbon monoxide exposure – Georgia Straight, December 11, 2017
- Delta company investigating carbon monoxide exposure that affected 43 greenhouse workers – The Province, December 11, 2017
- Dozens exposed to carbon monoxide at Delta greenhouse – Global News, December 10, 2017
- Carbon monoxide exposure sends over 40 people to hospital in Delta, BC – Global News, December 10, 2017
- Carbon monoxide exposure sends over 40 to hospital in Delta, B.C. – CBC News, December 10, 2017
- Carbon monoxide at Delta BC farm sends dozens to hospital – Globe and Mail, December 10, 2017
- Delta farm workers OK, out of hospital after carbon monoxide scare – The Province, December 10, 2017
- Poor ventilation at BC greenhouse blamed for carbon monoxide exposure – Times Colonist, December 10, 2017
- Update: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at B.C. farm – BC Local News, December 10, 2017
- 42 hospitalized after carbon monoxide poisoning at Delta farm – The Province, December 9, 2017
- Dozens hospitalized after carbon monoxide poisoning at Delta BC farm– Times Colonist, December 9, 2017
- Update: Workers all safe after carbon monoxide scare at Windset Farms – Delta Optimist, December 9, 2017