British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority
Terasen Gas Inc.

Terasen Gas Inc.

October 15, 2009 14:07 ET

BC Safety Authority and Terasen Gas Inc.: Getting Ready for the Winter

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire – Oct. 15, 2009) - Record breaking low-temperatures greeted British Columbians on Thanksgiving Day – a timely reminder to start thinking about the winter and ensuring appliances are safe and working properly.

The BC Safety Authority and Terasen Gas are asking everyone to ensure that their gas-fired heating appliances are properly cleaned and well-maintained by a professional, licensed gas contractor. That's the message from the BC Safety Authority, which regulates the safety of the propane and natural gas industry in BC and Terasen Gas, which serves more than 95 per cent of BC's natural gas customers.

"Homeowners should hire a licensed gas contractor who will check and clean the gas appliances to ensure that these will not cause fires or carbon monoxide poisoning," said Wayne Lock, BC Safety Authority Gas Safety Manager.

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from regularly maintained appliances that are properly ventilated is extremely low. However, every homeowner should be aware that even a small amount of carbon monoxide is dangerous.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, toxic gas. If trapped in a poorly ventilated area, it can cause symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, headache, vomiting or nausea, loss of manual dexterity, confusion, and in severe cases, unconsciousness and even death.

"Carbon monoxide continues to be a high risk in the gas technology," adds Lock. "In 2008, 34 major injuries were a result of carbon monoxide poisoning."

Other signs of carbon monoxide at home to watch out for include:

  • Dying house plants and stale, stuffy air
  • Discoloration or soot build-up on heating appliances, the fireplace or at warm-air outlets
  • Loose, disconnected, rusted or water streaked venting components
  • Abnormal condensation forming on windows and walls

Unlike carbon monoxide, natural gas and propane smell like rotten eggs or sulfur.

If you smell gas or hear the sound of escaping gas:

  • Leave the house or building immediately.
  • On your way out, do not smoke, operate electrical switches or devices, use any phone, or create any other source of ignition.
  • Call your gas supplier's emergency response number or 911 as soon as you are in a safe area.

Here are more tips to reduce the risks from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector labeled with the latest Canadian Standard CSA 6.19-01
  • Always ask for proof of certification or licensing from your contractor. You may also consult the BCSA website at www.safetyauthority.ca (Homeowner section) for a list of licensed contractors in your area. The website (Safety Information section) also contains additional information regarding natural gas and propane safety for consumers.
  • Keep your windows slightly open for ventilation when using a wood fireplace or operating large fans in a tightly sealed house.
  • Use appliances only for the purpose for which they are intended

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