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Yankee Gas Services Company
P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270
Prevention is Key to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Yankee Gas issues reminder, tips following CO-related deaths in East Lyme
Mary B. Ingarra
BERLIN, Conn., January 12, 2004 (NYSE: NU) –
The carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths of two people in Connecticut today is prompting a reminder from Yankee Gas Services Company about prevention. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless but very toxic. Whether you heat your home with oil, natural gas or propane, your heating system can produce CO if it’s not working properly or is inadequately vented.
Portable space heaters, such as a kerosene heater, that do not have an exhaust pipe connected to the outdoors can also produce CO if it is not properly vented. When using an unvented heater, air must be let into the room through a slightly opened door or window, and the door to the room must never be closed.
CO is also produced from internal combustion devices like a car and small gasoline engines. Even inadequate make-up air from a wood-burning fireplace can produce CO.
Signs and symptoms
Signs that CO is present include walls or windows that have condensation,
stuffy, stale or smelly air, very high humidity or soot coming from a fireplace or heating system.
The symptoms of CO poisoning are often confused with those of the flu, yet the highest incidence of poisoning occurs during the flu season. The symptoms include:
shortness of breath
loss of muscle control
High concentrations of CO can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage or death. CO is dangerous because it is absorbed into the bloodstream 200 times faster than oxygen. However, a victim may not experience
of these symptoms, or may only experience one or a few symptoms. You should suspect the presence of CO if symptoms tend to disappear when you leave your home.
What to do if CO suspected
If you suspect the presence of CO, you should open the windows and doors; call your fuel supplier or a licensed heating contractor
for an emergency inspection; and,
if CO is detected, seek medical attention immediately
Reduce the risk
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of CO poisoning, including:
Have your heating system inspected annually by a licensed heating contractor, your gas company or your fuel supplier – preferably before the heating season begins – to ensure it is in good working order. Yankee performs these inspections March 1 – September 15.
Have your chimney or vent pipes checked for blockage. If a blockage exists, contact a professional chimney sweep immediately.
Make sure your home has adequate ventilation, particularly if you have insulated your home, had major renovations done or have enclosed your heating system.
Clear snow and ice from around appliance and equipment vents.
Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas) is Connecticut's largest natural gas distribution company, delivering safe, reliable natural gas service to approximately 192,000 customers in 71 cities and towns. Yankee Gas is expanding Connecticut's energy options and increasing customer choice by extending the availability of clean, efficient natural gas throughout the state. Yankee Gas is part of the Northeast Utilities System (NYSE: NU). or more information, please visit www.yankeegas.com.
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