Regina fireplace division warns residents about carbon monoxide, area heaters

Last month, Regina fire crews responded to 24 carbon monoxide-related calls — an increase of nearly 50 per cent from the 13 calls in December 2020.

Deputy Fire Chief Neil Sundeen told the Greg Morgan Morning Show that when intakes and exhausts on homes are blocked with ice, people run the risk of carbon monoxide backing up into their homes.

Residents want to make sure there is adequate airflow going in and out at all times.

“You’ll have two. One is the air intake and one is the exhaust. The air intake will be frost-covered and the exhaust could very well be ice-covered. You want to make sure those are kept clear and that there’s space around them,” Sundeen explained.

He told Morgan a carbon monoxide detector is a device the fire department cannot recommend enough.

“Carbon monoxide is silent, there’s no smell to it and you can’t tell it’s there until it’s too late,” he said. “It accumulates in your system and can cause people to die.”

Some signs and symptoms include headaches and getting tired. Pets also can get lethargic.

Last week in Saskatoon, firefighters responded to a carbon monoxide call at a hotel due to a defective rooftop heating unit.  So far in 2022, the Saskatoon Fire Department has attended to four calls involving carbon monoxide.

Fire departments are also sending out a warning about space heaters.

Just in the last 10 days, there have been two structure fires in Regina caused by improperly used space heaters.

Sundeen said if people are warming a room up with a space heater, it should be at least a metre and a half away from any combustible materials.

“So that’s blankets, tarps, couches, chairs or you,” he said.

Sundeen said all space heaters should be CSA approved and always used to the manufacturer’s specifications.

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