Digital Exclusive: UGI reminds residents of carbon monoxide safety ahead of winter storm

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — With more winter weather in the forecast, UGI reminds residents of hazards that can lead to carbon monoxide build-up, and steps you can take to stay safe.

“The most important thing during a storm like this is to make sure your heating equipment is working properly,” UGI Utilities Spokesperson Don Brominski said.

Brominski says malfunctioning furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters, as well as blocked vents and chimneys, can be a source of carbon monoxide build-up.

“Some of the main things to look for there are proper ventilation: air getting to the furnace for combustion, and then the products of combustion being able to exit out the chimney or the vent,” Brominski said.

Brominski says improper ventilation can pose a serious issue in your home or business.

“Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous because it’s poisonous, but it’s colorless and odorless as well,” Brominski said.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can have deadly implications.

“If you get high enough concentrations and it gets into your blood system, it’s extremely dangerous. That’s why we stress the importance of the carbon monoxide detector, because that’ll detect it at low levels,” Brominski said.

Brominski says it’s crucial to use caution when clearing snow around gas meters.

“Be very careful with snow blowers and when shoveling around our gas meters, because the last thing you want to do is hit a gas meter with a snow blower and knock it off its base,” Brominski said.

And if the power goes out, you’ll want to be prepared for that, too. 

“The last thing you want to do is using something that’s not meant to heat your house, to heat your house. We strongly recommend only approved indoor appliances that are meant to heat a space to be used,” Brominski said.

Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

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