As the winter season ramps up heat demand, people are being reminded to be carbon-monoxide safe when heating up their homes.
Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that once inhaled, can prevent red blood cells from getting vital oxygen. When someone is getting CO poisoning, they first develop flu-like symptoms, with continued exposure to high levels leading to unconsciousness, convulsions, brain damage, and in some cases, death.
While CO incidents tend to rise in the winter and carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly, it can be prevented. In that effort, SaskEnergy, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and SaskPower are providing people with tips to reduce the risk in their own homes.
They say the biggest steps people can take is to clear flue vents and chimneys clear of frost, snow or other blockages, Ensure gas equipment, chimneys and gas appliances (including gas ranges) are properly installed, maintained and inspected yearly by a licensed gas contractor, and install a CO detector, making sure it’s up to date. Detectors need to be replaced every seven to ten years, and the expiration date can be found on the back.
If someone is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms, leave the house immediately, call 9-1-1 or emergency services and seek medical attention if needed. People should not come back into the home until the CO level has been checked and it is deemed safe to do so, with sources of the CO have been found and eliminated.
If a carbon monoxide alarm goes off but no one is experiencing symptoms of poisoning, people should shut off any gas appliances and open all doors and windows to vent the gas. If the alarm stops while your home ventilates, there may be low levels of CO in the house. Residents should call a qualified gas contractor to check gas appliances as soon as possible.
It’s also recommended that people not operate unvented appliances, like a barbecue or propane heater, in an enclosed space, never leave a vehicle idling in the garage, even with an open door. They should also operate snowblowers or generators outside.
SaskEnergy offers a $10 rebate on CO alarms at participating home stores throughout the province from November 2, 2020 to January 31, 2021. A full list of these stores can be found on their website.